For the first time in more than a month, the Wild is not on top of the Northwest Division. Despite seven-straight losses, the Wild is only a point out of first in the Northwest and five points out of the lead in the Western Conference. Tonight, Minnesota has a chance to get back to its winning ways in Nashville. The club will have to do so without Jared Spurgeon. Just when it looked like the Wild was getting over the injury bug, Colorado Avalanche forward Cody McLeod hit the defenseman from behind on Monday night. Spurgeon left the game with a lower body injury and won’t play tonight. Likely taking his place will be Elk River native Nate Prosser, who was recalled from Houston yesterday. Prosser has played in 14 games with the Wild this season and collected four assists.
Despite outshooting the Red Wings 32-22, the Nashville Predators suffered a 4-1 home loss against Detroit on Monday. Jonathon Blum scored the Predators lone goal and Pekka Rinne made 18 saves in the loss.
Wild at Nashville 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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Tonight’s game in Nashville is a McDonald’s Family Four Pack night. For $99 you can get 4 upper level tickets, 4 hot dogs and 4 soft drinks.
Despite two straight losses, Nashville is still 7-4-0 in December. Tonight, the Predators will be without its leading point scorer and captain Shea Weber, who is out with a concussion. With Weber out, the Preds recalled highly touted rookie Ryan Ellis, who made his NHL debut on Monday against Detroit. Ellis was Nashville’s first-round pick (11th overall) in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.
In his return Monday, Koivu stayed the Wild’s hottest play. He kept his point streak going with an assist, giving him nine points in his last seven outings, and points in 14 of his last 15 games (7-12=19). Minnesota’s captain recorded two assists in his team's 3-2 win against Nashville earlier this season.
Koivu’s return last game immediately impacted the team’s power play unit. Bouchard's power-play goal against the Avs was Minnesota's first since a Dec. 13. Now with Spurgeon gone, the Wild again will be forced to play without one of its top power play performers.
Marco Scandella and Spurgeon have been a defensive combination for most of the season. With Spurgeon out, Scandella was skating with Nick Schultz at yesterday’s practice. The Wild recalled Prosser and it looks like he'll get into the mix tonight. Minnesota also recalled forward Jon DiSalvatore from Houston, and likely will make his Wild debut tonight.
It looks like DiSalvatore will be in tonight, but the sitting forward is a game-time decision. Palmer is an option, but here are what the forward lines might look like:
Prosser looks like he'll return to the Wild blue line tonight. Like the forwards, the D-pairings are a game-time decision:
Josh Harding will get the nod and has a 4-4-0 record with a 2.88 goal against average and a .909 save percentage in eight starts against the Predators. Harding recorded the victory in the team's first meeting with Nashville this season.