Game Preview #21: Predators Play Matinee In Minnesota

By Amanda DiPaolo

Season Records

Nashville Predators 9-7-4
Minnesota Wild 10-8-2

DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 19: Mikko Koivu of the Minnesota Wild celebrates a goal by teammate John Madden in overtime in a game against the Detroit Red Wings on November 19, 2010 at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan. The Wild defeated the Wings 4-3 in overtime. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
Captain Mikko Koivu will try to lead his team past the Predators Friday afternoon. Both the Wild and the Predators are on a two-game losing skid (Photo: Yardbarker.com)

With just one win more than the Predators, the Wild rest just above Nashville in the standings, 12th and 13th respectively in the Western Conference. Friday afternoon’s battle is for positioning in the ever tight Western Conference.

The Predators lost to St. Louis on Wednesday night in a shootout. The Wild also last played on Wednesday when they were trampled on by the Philadelphia Flyers 6-1. Both teams are trying to snap a two-game losing streak.

David Legwand has been placed on injured reserve and did not make the trip to Minnesota with the team. That means Nashville will be without two of its top-six forwards. For a team struggling to find goals, Legwand’s lower-body injury continues to be a severe blow to the team.

Despite the injuries up front, Nashville still has been able to go 4-2-1 in their last 7 games. The key to their success has been limiting the offense of their opponents. In fact, Nashville has just allowed four goals in four games. The have only allowed five goals at even strength in their last five games. One reason the Predators defense has limited the offense of their opponents is because, after giving up four power play goals to the Toronto Maple Leafs on November 16th, the Predators penalty kill has been 100% during the last four games, killing off 15 power play chances.

The Predators blue line got a major boost on Wednesday when defenseman Ryan Suter returned to the lineup.

The Wild have battled through their share of injuries. James Sheppard has been out since the middle of October with no time table for return. Sheppard had left knee surgery. Pierre-Marc Bouchard is out with a concussion. Guillaume Latendresse is out indefinitely with a sports hernia and hip surgery. Chuck Kobasew has a groin injury and will not play on Friday. Finally, former Predator, Marek Zidlicky has an undisclosed injury and is questionable for Friday’s game.

Nashville typically dominates matinee games going 14-4-2, but they struggle against the Wild at the Excel Center. In 18 contests, Nashville is 5-8-(3)-2 in Minnesota.

Friday’s game is the first game of back-to-back games for Nashville. On Saturday, the Predators host the New York Rangers at Bridgestone Arena. The Rangers are also playing back-to-back games this weekend. On Friday night, New York visits Florida to take on the Panthers.

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Are you looking for tickets to an upcoming Predators home game? Follow this link for discounted tickets. Make an account and then use the word Preds as the code for the discount. The next Predators home game is Saturday, November 27th when the Preds take on the New York Rangers at Bridgestone Arena. Come see Sean Avery in person!

The Predators also host Phoenix on Tuesday, November 30th. Come see BizNasty himself, Paul Bissonnette and the Coyotes.

Topics: David Legwand, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators, NHL, Pekka Rinne, Ryan Suter

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