The Nashville Predators are coming off a tough loss after being shutout by the Los Angeles Kings in their last game before the Christmas break.
The Preds have two home games before playing nine of their next 12 games on the road. Despite a 5-2 loss earlier this season, the Preds have won three of their last five games against Minnesota.
Nashville is looking to string a few wins together and crawl out from the basement of the Western Conference.
The Minnesota Wild
The Wild come into Bridgestone Arena red-hot, riding a 10-game win streak. Minnesota scores the fourth most goals-per-game (3.06) and gives up the fewest (1.94). They already hold a 5-2 win over Nashville on Dec. 15, and look to go a perfect 2-0 at Bridgestone Arena.
Devan Dubnyk is perhaps the hottest goalie in the NHL currently. He leads the league in goals-against-averge (1.57), save percentage (.948), shutouts (5), and is tied for third in wins (17). The Preds have been struggling to score goals recently - just 10 in their last five games, half coming in a 5-1 win over New Jersey - and have been averaging 2.00 goals-per-game over that span. Dubnyk is not who the Preds want to see right now, and they will have their work cut out for them offensively.
Charlie Coyle and Eric Staal are the leaders of the Wild offense. Staal leads the team in points (11-17-28) and Coyle leads the team in goals (12). Staal is coming in with a seven-game point streak and has 12 points in his last 10 games.
The Nashville Predators
The Predators are 4-5-1 in their last 10 games, and have been playing under expectations all season long. The Predators have struggled with surrendering the first goal of the game. Nashville is 4-9-1 when trailing after the first period, and surrender the fifth most goals-against in the first period (31).
With only 35 points - tied for 9th in the Western Conference - the Predators are in desperate need of wins and points. As it sits right now, Nashville is three points behind Calgary for the last Wild Card spot.
Viktor Arvidsson and Ryan Johansen both lead the Preds in points (23). James Neal leads the team in goals (14) with Arvidsson right behind him (9). Mike Fisher has four goals in his last six games, while Arvidsson has nine points in his last nine games.
Reasons to Watch
- Will P.K. Subban return? Subban has missed the last four games due to an upper-body injury. His presence has been missed on both the PK and PP units. He has played his best games in front of the home crowd, and should he return, the Bridgestone Arena crowd should expect a show from No. 76.
- Can the Preds get some momentum going before playing nine out of their next 12 on the road? The Preds are 5-9-2 on the road this year which doesn’t boast well for their chances to come out with many points during this next stretch. They did however win their last two road games against a red hot Flyers team in Philly and the Devils in New Jersey.
- Despite some recent struggles offensively, several prominent Predators players have started to find the score sheet recently. James Neal and Viktor Arvidsson have carried Nashville offensively, but recently Filip Forsberg and Ryan Johansen have started to find a groove. Forsberg has three goals in his last six games, while Johansen seven points in his last nine games.
Song of the Game
Watch Me by The Phantoms
This was the song of the playoffs last season. This song always energized the crowd during home playoff games, so maybe ol’ reliable can help snap the Preds out of their funk
Sights and Sounds
Puck drop is at 7:00 PM C/ST. You can catch it on FS-TN or on the FOX Sports Go app. As always you can catch the radio broadcast on 102.5 The Game with Pete Weber and Brent Peterson.