Skip to main content

Predators set to wrap up season against Wild

by Brian Hunter

PREDATORS (37-32-12) at WILD (43-26-12)


Last 10: Nashville 7-1-2; Minnesota 7-2-1

Season series: This is the fifth and final game of the season between the Nashville Predators and Minnesota Wild. The Predators won the opener, but the Wild have taken the past three. Zach Parise leads Minnesota with two goals and four points against Nashville.

Big story: The Wild can reach 100 points for the second time in their 13-season history with a victory. The 2006-07 team set the franchise record with 104 points. But it couldn't win a series in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, something the Wild have accomplished once (2003) when they went to the Western Conference Final. Their first-round opponent this year has yet to be determined.

Team Scope:

Predators: For the second consecutive season Nashville will miss the playoffs, but the Predators gave the home fans a great sendoff Saturday in their Bridgestone Arena finale. Entering the night in the bottom-third of the NHL at 2.50 goals per game, the Predators rallied for five in the third period to win 7-5 against the defending Cup champs, the Chicago Blackhawks.

"The year was very challenging, especially in the first half of the year, and really we learned that, we learned resiliency," coach Barry Trotz said. "… You just keep competing and you get yourself back."

After the red-hot Patric Hornqvist scored the go-ahead goal with 59 seconds remaining, captain Shea Weber added an empty-netter. Weber, who expressed frustration earlier in the week at the Predators' fortunes, set a career high with his 54th point. His 22 goals are one off his career high set in 2008-09.

Wild: As the Western Conference's first wild card, Minnesota will face the division winner with the fewest points -- the Colorado Avalanche or St. Louis Blues, pending results Sunday.

The Wild, who have a lengthy injury list, saw forward Kyle Brodziak leave practice on Saturday with what coach Mike Yeo termed "discomfort," but he's expected to play Sunday in what would be his 232nd consecutive game. Also, defenseman Clayton Stoner is set to return from a knee injury and forward Mikael Granlund, who has missed the past five games with a head injury, could be back by the start of the postseason after skating Saturday.

"The postseason always ramps up physically, so I want the other team to know they have to pay a price to get space around the net," Stoner said in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune about getting back on the ice. "I'm going to try to bring that."

Who's hot: Brodziak comes off a two-goal game against the Blues, while Wild forward Nino Niederreiter had a goal and an assist. ... Hornqvist has eight goals and four assists in the Predators' past seven games. Forward Craig Smith has two goals and two assists during a three-game point streak. Forward Matt Cullen has four goals and 11 assists in his past 11 games. Weber has six goals and five assists in his past 11 games.

Injury report: Nashville forward Patrick Eaves (lower body) is out. ... Minnesota is without goalies Darcy Kuemper (lower body), Josh Harding (illness) and Niklas Backstrom (abdominal), defenseman Keith Ballard (groin) and forwards Jason Zucker (knee/quad) and Granlund (head).

View More

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.