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Nashville Predators vs. Minnesota Wild: Back on Track

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After a disappointing showing against Toronto, the Predators square off against Minnesota in the first of a back-to-back weekend road trip.

AP

The Nashville Predators dropped a miserable contest on Thursday to the Toronto Maple Leafs at home. They have embarked on a two-game road trip that includes matchups with Central foes Winnipeg and Minnesota.

Minnesota has had a ridiculous four days off, and you can bet they’re going to be coming out firing against the Predators.

The Nashville Predators

The Predators have lost two games to the Wild this season. They won the second of the back-to-back series in late December.

Thursday’s loss to Toronto can be viewed as a wake up call. The players did not mince words when it came to summarizing the loss. The Predators ought to be looking to returning to their winning ways tonight, and they’re likely going to take no prisoners in doing so.

The power play remains the biggest “meh” the Predators are struggling with. They have plenty of forward depth, skilled defensemen, and excellent goaltending. However, they haven’t scored on the power play in what seems like several centuries. I do not doubt that Coach Laviolette will work the power play hard in practice.

This back-to-back with Minnesota and Winnipeg will see the goaltenders split duties. Both, as I’ve mentioned at least 800 times, are fantastic. A strong showing from young Juuse Saros will inspire confidence in this team and show the coaching staff that he can be trusted against big Central foes who might present a problem in the playoffs.

Also, #Rinne4Vezina.

The Minnesota Wild

Minnesota is 41-24-8 heading into tonight’s contest.

Eric Staal has led a resurgent Wild team to success this season. He has 39 goals and 32 assists this season. Mikael Granlund has 19 goals, and Jason Zucker has 29. Ryan Suter leads defensemen in points with 49. Veteran centerman Matt Cullen has 21 points.

Goaltender Devan Dybnyk has a .915 save percentage. His season has not been as stellar as last season, but Dubnyk continues to put forth good work in the Wild crease. Backup Alex Stalock has a .912 in 28 games.

Coach Bruce Boudreau has his team set up to succeed in the Central this postseason. They have a mix of veteran skill and young talent to do some damage in the playoffs. Right now, the Wild are shooting for third place in the Central behind Nashville and Winnipeg.

Nashville will face Minnesota once more on Tuesday at Bridgestone Arena.

Memories and Feelings

-Boo, Ryan Suter!

-Tonight’s goal should be to NOT repeat the 4-6 loss from the beginning of the season. No turtling!!!!

Reasons to Watch

-Saturday night Central Division hockey!

-Your bracket is probably busted.

-More of this:

Tonight’s Theme Song

“Wild” by Kings of Leon.

How to Watch

Tonight’s game is on Fox Sports-TN, and 102.5 The Game will have the radio call. Puck drop is at 7 pm Central.