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Preview: Predators at Wild

Minnesota defenseman Jonas Brodin game-time decision; Nashville looks to come out strong after break

by Jessi Pierce / NHL.com Correspondent

PREDATORS (27-21-8) at WILD (38-13-6)

8 p.m. ET; FS-N, FS-WI, FS-TN, NHL.TV

 

Predators team scope

The Nashville Predators are returning from their mandatory five-day break. So far, teams are 3-9-2 in the first game back from their break, including 0-5-1 in February. The Predatrod want to defy that trend. "We've been made aware [of records following the break]," captain Mike Fisher said. "It's always tough the first game back and against a great opponent tonight, so we've for to be ready to play. I think we're going to do everything we can to make sure we're ready, mentally prepare ourselves and physically, hopefully most guys took care of their bodies." Nashville is 10-5-1 in its past 16 games and holds a one-point lead on the Calgary Flames for the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference. The Predators are five points behind the St. Louis Blues for third place in the Central Division. Forward Viktor Arvidsson leads Nashville with 18 goals and has nine points (six goals, three assists) in his past six games. "I've been playing with some really good players with [Ryan Johansen] and [Filip Forsberg], so I feel it's been awesome so far," Arvidsson said. "I think we found each other well on the ice and I play with a lot of confidence. I just try do that every night and every shift." Goaltender Pekka Rinne, who made 18 saves in a 5-3 win against the Dallas Stars last Sunday, is expected to start.

 

Wild team scope

Minnesota Wild defenseman Jonas Brodin will be a game-time decision after missing 14 games with an injured finger. "He's not definitely back yet," coach Bruce Boudreau said. "He's practicing, he's still on IR. We'll talk to the doctors and see if he's ready tonight or will it be better to leave him three days from now when we play [the] Chicago [Blackhawks]." Brodin is ready to join the group. "I'm excited, I feel 100 percent and I've done a lot of work lately," he said. "I think the toughest part [with this injury] is the rest of my body felt good. It's just one finger that hurts, so you can't play because of the finger, that's frustrating. I'm just excited to get back playing." The Wild, 14-4-1 in their past 19 games and 6-2-1 in their past nine home games, lead the Blackhawks by seven points for first place in the Central Division and Western Conference. Minnesota is 13-4-3 against Central Division opponents this season and has won 14 of their past 15, going 11-1-3 since Nov. 21. Goaltender Devan Dubnyk, who is 4-1-0 with 10 goals allowed in his past five games, will start. Forward Mikko Koivu is two points from 600 in his NHL career.

 

Predators projected lineup

Filip Forsberg -- Ryan Johansen -- Viktor Arvidsson

Colin Wilson -- Calle Jarnkrok -- James Neal

Austin Watson -- Mike Fisher -- Craig Smith

Harry Zolnierczyk -- Vernon Fiddler -- Colton Sissons

Roman Josi -- Ryan Ellis

Mattias Ekholm -- P.K. Subban

Matt Irwin -- Yannick Weber

Pekka Rinne

Juuse Saros

Scratched: Anthony Bitetto, Brad Hunt, Kevin Fiala

Injured: Miikka Salomaki (lower body), Cody McLeod (lower body)

 

Wild projected lineup

Nino Niederreiter -- Eric Staal -- Jason Pominville

Jason Zucker -- Mikko Koivu -- Mikael Granlund

Zach Parise -- Charlie Coyle -- Alex Tuch

Chris Stewart -- Erik Haula -- Jordan Schroeder

Ryan Suter -- Jared Spurgeon

Marco Scandella -- Christian Folin

Gustav Olofsson -- Jonas Brodin

Darcy Kuemper

Devan Dubnyk

Scratched: Nate Prosser

Injured: Matt Dumba (lower body), Victor Bartley (arm)

 

Status report

Nashville recalled Fiala, a forward, from Milwaukee of the American Hockey League. … Dumba may return Tuesday against Chicago. "He looked pretty good today," Boudreau said. "I wouldn't be surprised, again I haven't talked to the trainers or anything, but if he has a good practice Monday that he'd be able to go on Tuesday."

 

Who's hot

Jarnkrok has 10 points (five goals, five assists) in his past nine games. … Johansen has 10 points (two goals, eight assists) in his past 11 games. … Pominville has 18 points (four goals, 14 assists) in his past 14 games. Granlund has 20 points (six goals, 14 assists) in his past 18 games. Niederreiter has 16 points (eight goals, eight assists) in his past 16 games. Koivu has four assists in his past three games.

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