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Predators go for sweep of road trip as they face Wild

by Staff /

PREDATORS (5-3-1) at WILD (3-3-3)


Season series: This is the second of five games between the Nashville Predators and Minnesota Wild, and the first in St. Paul. Nashville won the first game on Oct. 8, 3-2, on the strength of three first-period goals and a 32-save effort by Pekka Rinne.

Big story: The Wild come home, where they will play six of their next seven games. They've gotten points in all four home games (2-0-2). The Predators will be playing their third game in four nights of a three-game road trip and are looking to complete the sweep.

Team scope:

Predators: Coming off a 3-1 win Sunday in Winnipeg, the Predators have picked up points in five straight games and swept a weekend road trip that also included a game in Montreal on Saturday.

"It was a big win for us. Tough travel, tough back-to-back (set) for us. It's a big two-game stretch for this team," Matt Cullen, who scored his second goal of the season, said after Sunday's game.

The Predators turned to backup goalie Carter Hutton on Sunday and he answered the call, stopping 39 of 40 shots for his first NHL win.

"Playing behind Pekka, he's a world-class goalie, so when I do get a chance to play, I need to find ways to win. That's what they brought me in for," said Hutton, who made one start last season for the Chicago Blackhawks.

Wild: The Wild's offensive woes have seen them score just one goal in each of the past three games and two or fewer in seven of nine games this season. The latest loss was a 2-1 shootout defeat at the hands of the Florida Panthers on Saturday.

"It [stinks]. It's hard when you're going through it. I don't have any answers. I don't know. You just keep shooting, just know and hope that it's going to go in for us soon," said Zach Parise, who had a team-high eight shots on goal. "Obviously, we've got to do something a little better. What that is we'll have to find out sooner than later because it's killing us right now."

The chances have been there. The Wild have had 30 or more shots in six games, though it hasn't translated to success on the scoreboard.

"I'm disappointed for our guys. They're playing their tails off. We're playing great defensively, generating chances, but we're not winning games. … Guys are playing their tails off and they're not getting rewarded," coach Mike Yeo said.

Who's hot: Though he has lost his past two games, Wild goalie Josh Harding has been excellent, stopping 48 of 51 shots (.941 save percentage). ... Shea Weber has four points this season and they have all come in the past four games for the Nashville defenseman.

Injury report: The Predators will be without defenseman Roman Josi (concussion), who is on injured reserve. Forwards Rich Clune (personal) and Mike Fisher (lower body) both missed Sunday's game. … The Wild will be without Mike Rupp (knee surgery) and Charlie Coyle (sprained knee). Defenseman Keith Ballard (head) is listed as questionable.

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