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Struggling offenses meet as Predators visit Wild @NHLdotcom

PREDATORS (3-6-1) at WILD (3-8-0)

Last 10: Predators 3-6-1; Wild 3-7-0

Season series -- This is the first of four meetings between the teams this season. They split four games last season, with each winning once in the other's home arena. Nashville's two goaltenders, Pekka Rinne and Dan Ellis, each earned a shutout in the Preds' wins. The Wild scored 14 goals in their two victories and have won seven of the last 10 meetings.

Big story -- The bottom two teams in the Western Conference both need wins desperately. Nashville is the lowest-scoring team in the League, but scored six goals two games ago. The Wild are winless on the road, but unbeaten at home.

Team Scope:

Predators -- In 10 games the Predators have just 17 goals, and six of them came in one game, at Ottawa last Thursday. They've been shut out three times, including in their last game, Saturday in Chicago. But Coach Barry Trotz isn't worried. "They were shooting the pucks and getting to the net," Trotz told The Tennessean. "We had some pucks behind (Chicago goalie Cristobal Huet), but they went out the other end (of the crease). If you're squeezing your sticks, you're trying to pass all the time. But we were trying to shoot. If one of those goes in, it might be a different story."

Wild -- New coach Todd Richards sees his team working hard, but isn't sure they're competing the right way. He noted the three goals scored by Chicago in Monday's 3-1 defeat all came on rebounds or from in close to the net. "I believe we're working hard," Richards told the Pioneer Press, "but we aren't always competing hard."

Who's hot -- Nashville forward J.P. Dumont is tied for the team lead in scoring with 7 points in just six games, powered by his five-point effort against Ottawa last Thursday. Minnesota's Andrew Brunette has goals in back-to-back games, giving him 7 for the season, which is eighth in the League.

Injury report -- Defenseman Kim Johnsson, forwards Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Derek Boogaard all missed Monday's game for Minnesota. Johnsson missed the trip due to an upper-body injury, but his status is day-to-day. Boogaard has missed the last two games due to an illness, but he made the trip. Bouchard has a concussion and is out indefinitely. Nashville is playing without Jason Arnott (arm) and Jordin Tootoo (lower body), both of whom are in on injured reserve. Defenseman Dan Hamhuis sat out Saturday's game against Chicago due to an upper-body injury.

Stat pack -- In Minnesota's two wins against Nashville last season, the Wild scored a total of 14 goals. This season, they have 22 in 11 games. … Four teams -- the Rangers, Kings, Sharks and Flames -- have more goals than Nashville (17) and Minnesota (22) combined.

Puck drop -- Richards still is getting to know his players, and they're also getting to know him. What they're finding is a no-nonsense attitude. Case in point was young players James Sheppard and Benoit Pouliot being benched in the third period of Saturday's game against Carolina.

"You can learn a lot from watching," Richards told the Pioneer Press. "Hopefully, they watched the game closely, and hopefully that'll pay off for them."

Both were in the lineup Monday night, but each played less than nine minutes.

"Hopefully, they're motivated," Richards said. "They should be now."

-- Adam Kimelman,

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