The Wild marches into Music City on a three-game winning streak, with all three contests going into extra time. The Wild beat the Florida Panthers in overtime, and then topped the Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks on consecutive nights in shootouts. Tonight’s game against the Nashville Predators marks the final road game for Minnesota, as the Wild tries to even the season series against the Preds. The Predators lead the season series two games to one, winning a 2-1 shootout at Bridgestone Arena on Dec. 28 and 5-4 at Xcel Energy Center on Jan. 31. The Wild took the first meeting of the season 3-2 at home on Nov. 23.
After missing Saturday’s game against the Blackhawks with an upper body injury, Warren Peters
joined the Wild in Nashville yesterday. He will be back in the lineup today, so the Wild will reassign Cody Almond
will get his first start of the season against the Predators.
The Wild weren’t fooling around against the Blackhawks on April 1, winning a 5-4 shootout in Chicago. Devin Setoguchi
had a goal and two assists, and scored the clinching goal in the shootout. Dany Heatley
scored a power play goal and assisted on Setoguchi’s tally. Clayton Stoner
scored his first goal of the season. Kyle Brodziak
scored his 22nd goal of the season, tying him with Heatley for the team lead. Erik Christensen
added his fifth shootout goal since arriving in Minnesota. Josh Harding
made 31 saves, and stopped two-of-three in the shootout for the win.
Coincidentally, the Predators’ last game was a 5-4 home loss to the Blackhawks on Saturday. Shea Weber scored twice, and Martin Erat and Alexander Radulov added goals for Nashville. Pekka Rinne made 25 saves in the loss.
Wild at Predators will be broadcast locally in high definition on FOX Sports North with a start time at 7:00 PM. The game can be heard on KFAN 100.3 FM or online at Wild.com.
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With summer quickly approaching, school is almost out of session. Bring your unused supplies to the game because the Predators and Backfield in Motion will be collecting school supplies before the game.
The Preds sit as the number five seed in the Western Conference, one point behind the Detroit Red Wings for home ice in the first round of the playoffs.
Erat leads the Preds in scoring with 58 points (19-39=58). On the blue line, Nashville has a high-scoring pair of defensemen in Weber (19-30=49) and Ryan Suter (7-39=46).
has five points (2-3=5) in his last four games, including the overtime-winner against Florida on March 29. Koivu ranks third on the Wild with 42 points (12-30=42) and leads the team with a plus-11 rating. The Wild is 26-19-7 with Koivu in the lineup and 8-16-3 without its captain.
The Wild again looks to play the role of spoilers against Nashville. The Wild’s previous three wins have come against teams jockeying for playoff positioning. To do so, Minnesota will have to contain Nashville’s power play, clicking at an NHL best 22 percent. The Wild’s power play has come alive of late. Since March 17, Minnesota has had the NHL’s fifth-best power play, going 6-for-26 (23.1 percent).
Known primarily as a defensive defenseman, Clayton Stoner
has started producing offensively since being paired with Tom Gilbert
. Stoner scored his first goal of the season at Chicago and has two points in the last three games, including an assist on Koivu’s overtime winner against Florida. However, Stoner hasn’t lost his grittiness, getting into a scrap with Brandon Bollig of the Hawks on Sunday.
Peters is set to return to the lineup and will replace Almond:
The blue line will remain the same as Sunday:
Backstrom gets his first start of the season against the Preds, and is 7-4-0 lifetime with a 3.03 goals against average and a .903 save percentage in 11 games (nine starts) versus Nashville.
All healthy players will be in the lineup.
is out indefinitely with a concussion. Steven Kampfer
is out for the season with a lower body injury. Matt Kassian
(sports hernia) has been shut down for the season. Matt Cullen
(finger) had surgery and is out for the remainder of the season. Mike Lundin
is shut down for the season after having surgery on a sports hernia. Pierre-Marc Bouchard
and Guillaume Latendresse
are on Injured Reserve with concussions.
“It tells your teammates you're there for each other, and that stuff is contagious.”
-- Mike Yeo on Clayton Stoner
’s scrap against the Hawks
D Jack Hillen is from Minnetonka.
The Wild is 23-13-4 when not allowing a PPG and 11-22-6 when allowing one or more.