(11-4-3) Nashville Predators vs. Minnesota Wild (10-5-3)
7 P.M. (CT) | Xcel Energy Center | #NSHvsMIN
TV: FS-TN | Radio: 102.5 The Game | Pregame: 6:30 P.M. (CT)
The Nashville Predators are back at it tonight, continuing their five-game road trip with a stop in Minnesota to face the Wild. The Preds fell by a 4-0 final last night in Columbus.
It's the second meeting between the two clubs this season, the first coming on Nov. 5 in Minnesota, a 3-2 win for Nashville. Cody Hodgson tallied his first in a Predators uniform for the game winner against the Wild; Roman Josi and Mike Fisher also scored for the Preds in the win.
The Preds enter tonight's contest with a 4-0-1 record over their last five games against Minnesota at Xcel Energy Center. The Wild have a 7-1-0 home record so far this season, with the only loss coming against Nashville. The Predators have scored at least three goals in their last four road games against the Wild, scoring 19 goals over their last four games.
Nashville carries a 11-4-3 record (25 points) into this evening's matchup, good for third in the Central, two points ahead of the 10-5-3 Wild (23 points). Minnesota fell to Boston by a 4-2 final in their most-recent outing.
Tonight's game is part of the second of 12 back-to-back series this season. The Preds have a 0-2-1 record so far this season in back-to-back contests. Last season, the Preds posted a 10-7-5 record in back-to-backs, with a 7-1-3 record in the first half and a 3-6-2 in the second.
Forward James Neal leads the Preds in goals and points with nine and 15, respectively, followed by defenseman Roman Josi's 13 points. Forwards Mike Ribeiro and Filip Forsberg each have identical stat lines (2g-9a), while Shea Weber (6g-4a) and Seth Jones (1g-9a) have 10 points apiece. Craig Smith and Calle Jarnkrok are tied for third on the team in goals with four.
Goaltender Pekka Rinne, who faced the Jackets on Friday night, is 10-3-3 on the season; Carter Hutton owns a 1-1-0 mark.
Mikko Koivu (4g-13a) paces Minnesota with 17 points, followed by former Preds defenseman Ryan Suter, who has 14 assists and 16 points. Thomas Vanek has potted seven goals on the season, while Jason Zucker and Nino Niederreiter have recorded six each. Goaltender Devan Dubnyk has gone 10-5-2 this season with a 2.64 goals-against average and a .906 save percentage.
Preds forward Mike Fisher has recorded a point in four of his last five games versus the Wild (3g-2a) while Forsberg has a point in two of his past three games against Minnesota (1g-1a).
The Predators have won five of their last 11 games overall against the Wild (5-4-2 record), including a 2-2-1 record against Minnesota last season, winning both games on the road. All-time, the Preds are 27-19-12 against the Wild.
Predators Game Day Video:Preds Road Trip Roundtable:
The Predators did not hold a morning skate on Saturday. Below is the team's projected lineup based on the players used in yesterday's 4-0 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
| ||Forwards || |
|Miikka Salomaki ||Mike Fisher ||James Neal |
|Filip Forsberg ||Mike Ribeiro ||Craig Smith |
|Colin Wilson ||Calle Jarnkrok ||Austin Watson |
|Gabriel Bourque ||Colton Sissons ||Cody Hodgson |
| ||Defense || |
|Roman Josi ||Shea Weber |
|Barret Jackman ||Seth Jones |
|Mattias Ekholm ||Ryan Ellis |
Goaltenders: Carter Hutton is the expected starter in net with Pekka Rinne serving as the backup.
Extra: (D) Victor Bartley, (D) Anthony Bitetto, (F) Paul Gaustad, (F) Eric Nystrom (IR)
| ||Forwards || |
|Thomas Vanek ||Mikael Granlund ||Jason Pominville |
|Jason Zucker ||Mikko Koivu ||Nino Niederreiter |
|Erik Haula ||Charlie Coyle ||Jordan Schroeder |
|Chris Porter ||Ryan Carter ||Brett Bulmer |
| ||Defense || |
|Ryan Suter ||Jared Spurgeon |
|Jonas Brodin ||Matt Dumba |
|Marco Scandella ||Nate Prosser |
Goaltenders: Devan Dubnyk has been annouced as the starter in net with Niklas Backstrom serving as the backup.
Injured: (F) Tyler Graovac, (F) Justin Fontaine, (F) Zach Parise, (F) Marco Scandella
*Wild lineup provided by NHL.com