Minnesota Wild @ Nashville Predators Preview: Welcome Back Suter

USA TODAY Sports

While the Nashville Predators need a win to keep pace with Western Conference playoff contenders, a personal drama hangs over tonight's game as Ryan Suter returns to Smashville...

The Stats

Minnesota Wild Nashville Predators
Record 11-9-2 20th 10-9-5 19th
GF/Game 2.27 25th 2.12 30th
GA/Game 2.50 10th 2.29 5th
5-on-5 SF/60 26.4 26th 23.1 30th
5-on-5 SA/60 28.1 13th 26.1 6th
Fenwick Close 45.90 25th 46.20 23rd
5-on-5 Save % .914 16th .929 5th
5-on-4 GF/60 3.8 30th 5.3 17th
# of PP's/Gm 3.55 20th 3.20 26th
4-on-5 GA/60 4.6 6th 8.0 28th
# of PK's/Gm 3.09 1st 3.29 5th

The Predators' penalty kill has been a weak spot as of late (fortunately they didn't have to go to work at all last night against Edmonton), so hopefully they can find some success against a Minnesota power play which is having its own troubles.

So far this season the Preds are 1-0-1 against Minnesota. On January 22nd Chris Mason backstopped Nashville to a 3-1 win, while on February 9th the Predators were caught be the controversial "hand pass" rule on an overtime faceoff by Paul Gaustad, and lost 2-1.

Do you plan on going to tonight's game, or watching it on TV? RSVP here and you could win $200 in free tickets from our partners at TiqIQ!

Minnesota Wild


Minnesota Wild Injuries

Probable

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Cal Clutterbuck thigh 03/09/2013

Out (IR / Out / Suspended / Physically unvailable)

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Josh Harding other-illness 02/12/2013
Darcy Kuemper groin 03/06/2013

Let's see what we've got here... fellow contender for a Western Conference playoff spot... future division rival under the NHL realignment...

Oh yeah, there's this guy making his first visit to Bridgestone Arena wearing enemy colors:


Ryan Suter

#20 / Defenseman / Minnesota Wild

6-1

198

Jan 21, 1985



GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG
SOG PCT
2012 - Ryan Suter 22 1 14 15 -6 8 1 0 0 40 2.5

As I wrote a couple days ago, Suter is experiencing similar challenges to Shea Weber this season - without a familiar world-class defenseman alongside him, Suter hasn't dominated the flow of play like he did for several years here in Nashville.

Of course, the big question today is how the fans will greet the longtime Predator:

He took the money, but he also took to the opportunity to move closer to his home and that of his wife. While the Predators lamented that Suter had negotiated in some bad faith, one got the sense that Suter was genuinely remorseful for having caused the only team he had played for, and his general manager David Poile, any strife.

Weber's reaction to Suter leaving was to ink an offer sheet with the Flyers, have his agents put over Philly as a more desirable location and then wait to see if the contract would scare off Poile. It didn't; as the GM said, "Shea knew, when he signed the offer sheet, that he was going to play the next 14 years in Philly or Nashville."

So perhaps one sees Suter as the catalyst for Weber's decision, or Weber as someone who tried to bail on his team during a moment of unprecedented turmoil. Whatever the case, Weber's still in Nashville and Suter returns there on Saturday with the Wild, expected[sic] a chilly reception.

--- Puck Daddy's Greg Wyshynski

Nashville Predators

Fans are swooning over the new guys who joined the lineup last night, but tonight's game represents a much stiffer test. Not only are the Wild well-rested and relatively healthy compared to Edmonton, but on the flip side, the players making their Preds debut last night (Bobby Butler, Zach Boychuk & Victor Bartley) had to have tremendous adrenaline going. Can they maintain that level of energy tonight?

Nick Spaling should be able to get back in the lineup, thanks to an injury to Patric Hornqvist last night that will keep him out:

That leaves two other questions unanswered - will Jonathon Blum get back in there after a scratch last night, and will Pekka Rinne get the start?


Pekka Rinne

#35 / Goalie / Nashville Predators

6-5

209

Nov 03, 1982



GP MIN W L OTL GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2012 - Pekka Rinne 22 1285 9 8 4 46 2.15 557 511 .917 4

My guess is that both of those are a "yes". But stay tuned...

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