Skip to main content

Wild-Predators Preview @NHL

The Nashville Predators and Minnesota Wild each have 11 wins this season, but enter their third meeting of 2006-07 heading in different directions.

The Predators look to continue their hot streak when they host the slumping Wild at Gaylord Entertainment Center on Thursday.

After losing three straight to open the season, Nashville has gone 11-1-1, including a 5-4 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday. Nashville trailed 4-3 midway through the final period, but goals from David Legwand and Scott Nichol 31 seconds apart gave the Predators the win.

Legwand finished with two goals and an assist.

"It's a tribute to the guys in the room," Predators coach Barry Trotz said. "The guys believe in playing a whole 60 minutes."

Ten of Nashville's contests have been decided by one goal, and part of the Predators' success has come through a balanced scoring attack in which no player has more than five goals.

Steve Sullivan and Paul Kariya are tied for the team lead with 15 points each, and Sullivan has two goals and three assists in two matchups against Minnesota.

He will try continue that success Thursday when Nashville (11-4-1) plays just its sixth home game this season. The Predators are 7-1 with two ties in 10 all-time meetings with the Wild in Nashville, including four straight wins, outscoring them 27-14.

The teams have split two meetings in Minnesota this season - each decided by one goal.

The Wild (11-6-0) have dropped four of their last five contests, including a 4-3 defeat to the Phoenix Coyotes on Tuesday. Pavol Demitra, Mark Parrish and Wes Walz each had a goal and an assist in the loss for the Wild, who led a two-goal lead slip away.

"It was a tough loss," said forward Brian Rolston, who leads the Wild with 11 goals and 17 points. "We have to get back on the right track. We are just not playing the way that we can play. We have to play a little tighter and that goes for everybody."

The Northwest Division leaders began the season with a six-game winning streak and recorded victories in nine of their first 10 contests. The Wild are now trying to avoid their first three-game skid of the season when they conclude a five-game road trip with this contest.

Demitra has two goals and two assists against the Predators this season and 14 goals and 16 assists in 35 career games against the Predators.

Nashville likely will go with Tomas Vokoun in net. He made 29 saves Wednesday to improve to 8-3-1 with 2.91 goals-against average this season, and is 6-3 with three ties and a 2.09 GAA in 13 career games versus the Wild.

Minnesota's Manny Fernandez is 9-5 with a 2.27 GAA this season, but hasn't had as much luck against the Predators, going 6-8 with three ties and a 2.63 GAA in 18 career starts.

View More