Nashville Predators @ Minnesota Wild Preview: Suter Gone Wild

Hannah Foslien

July 4, 2012 was Ryan Suter's Independence Day, as the longtime Nashville Predator signed as a free agent with the Minnesota Wild, alongside Zach Parise. Tonight, the Preds meet up with their former teammate for the first time (7:00 p.m. on FS-TN).

While the Predators have seen some improvement from Game One to Game Two, they don't have any wins to show for it, while the Wild have jumped out of the gate with consecutive victories over Colorado and Dallas. Can the Preds find their stride against the team Craig Leipold left them for?

Get moving with Nashville Predators ZigLite training shoes from Reebok

The Stats

Until we get a few more games under everyone's belt, we'll run with last year's stats and expound from there:

Nashville Predators Minnesota Wild
Record 48-28-6 5th 35-36-11 24th
GF/Game 2.83 8th 2.58 23rd
GA/Game 2.50 10th 2.58 10th
5-on-5 SF/60 27.4 24th 24.8 30th
5-on-5 SA/60 30.5 25th 31.6 25th
Fenwick Close 46.08 29th 44.91 30th
5-on-5 Save % .924 7th .927 4th
5-on-4 GF/60 7.6 1st 7.0 6th
# of PP's/Gm 3.05 26th 2.24 22nd
4-on-5 GA/60 6.1 15th 5.5 13th
# of PK's/Gm 2.98 6th 2.37 15th

Fundamentally, the Wild were a poor team last season, and a hot start gave way to a horrid second half as they plummeted through the standings and finished out of the playoffs. One of the more interesting stories to watch from a stats perspective is how much Minnesota improves thanks to their splashy free agent spending.

Last Time Out

Sunday, the Wild took a 1-0 victory on home ice over the Dallas Stars, as they buckled down to hold a late lead (something the Preds have failed to do so far):

The third was much more fast paced as the Stars turned up the heat and brought the pressure. Josh Harding stood tall when he needed to, and the Wild's defense certainly stepped up their game to match the Stars charge. For the Stars, their new kid, Chris Nilthrop, was outstanding. He looked a bit out of sorts in the first period, but after that, put a very good Wild team on lock down. A little support from his team, and he could have stolen this one.

Josh Harding knows all about being on the other end of this stick, trust me.

--- Hockey Wilderness

Who To Watch Out For

Hmm...


Zach Parise

#11 / Left Wing / Minnesota Wild

5-11

195

Jul 28, 1984


Parise just scored his first goal as a Wild on Sunday, but will be looked to as a leading scorer up front.


Ryan Suter

#20 / Defenseman / Minnesota Wild

6-1

198

Jan 21, 1985


We're all familiar with this guy. Some see him as a turnocat, but to me he was just a pro waiting for a chance to choose his career path.

Preds Primer

Paul Gaustad's absence from the lineup last night due to an upper body injury gave Richard Clune a chance to make his Nashville Predators debut, on the 4th line:

Sergei Kostitsyn Mike Fisher Martin Erat
Craig Smith David Legwand Patric Hornqvist
Colin Wilson Nick Spaling Matt Halischuk
Rich Clune Brandon Yip Brian McGrattan

The d-pairings, on the other hand, remained the same last night:

Roman Josi Shea Weber
Scott Hannan Kevin Klein
Hal Gill Ryan Ellis
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