Nashville Predators @ Minnesota Wild Preview: Central Division Showdown
The Predators get back into action tonight as they take on the Wild in Minnesota.
It has been a nice little break for the Nashville Predators. After three days off (and two straight losses) the Predators look to get back on track and in the win column.
These two teams have been nearly identical this season, as far as the standings go. Both of them are 7-2-2 overall, and 6-2-2 in their last ten games played. This game, along with all the Central Division games, will be crucial in the already tight division.
The Minnesota Wild
The Wild have been a solid team all year so far. They are getting balanced scoring throughout the lineup, and are winning the tough games so far. The only loss that is in question is the 4-1 beating by the Ducks. But let's be honest, who are we to judge since the Predators let them score 4 goals on them on Sunday.
The big guns for Minnesota have come out to play this season. There aren't really any surprises at the top of the score sheets for the Wild as Mikko Koivu, Thomas Vanek, Ryan Suter, and Zach Parise lead the charge. The Wild have a deep and talented team (and it pains me to say that). Mikael Granlund and Jason Pominville are providing some nice secondary scoring depth for the Wild, and Nino Niederreiter is having himself a solid season so far.
The question for the Wild lies in their goaltending. Devan Dubnyk has not played up to his expectations from last year. He is posting a 2.59 GAA and a .898 SV%. Those numbers are barely below average. When you play in a division that is stacked with offensive star power, you better be able to either stop them, or score with them. Luckily for Minnesota this year, they are scoring with them. We will see how long that keeps up though.
The Nashville Predators
Nashville returns back to central standard time after being on the West Coast last week. The swing was not nice to the Preds as they are coming off of a two losses in a row. They played well enough to get a point in L.A., but faltered in Anaheim. Hopefully a good ol' division rivalry game will get the Predators back in the swing of things.
Nashville has been good at keeping opponents from getting shots off. They rank 4th in the league with Fenwick Against (324) and 6th in Fenwick Against per 60 minutes (37.3). The defensive unit that is on this team right now is meshing extremely well with each other. They is a level of chemistry there that seemed to be missing towards the end of last season. They are going to have to have a solid game for a full 60 minutes tonight.
Reasons To Watch
- As if not having Predators hockey for three days wasn't enough reason to watch tonight.....
- It's Nashville's first divisional game of the season. I would expect them (considering they will have fresh legs) to come out firing on all cylinders/
Drink Of Choice For Game Time
Autumn is in full swing, so what better way to enjoy a hockey game in the fall then with a Leinenkugel Harvest Shandy.
Sights And Sounds
FS-TN locally for TV and 102.5 for radio coverage. Game starts at 7:00 pm CST.