NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, December 31st (All times eastern)
Nashville Predators (17-13-6) at Minnesota Wild (17-14-5), 6 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Nashville Predators will be trying to avoid their longest losing streak of the season when they visit the Minnesota Wild tonight at Xcel Energy Center.
With losses in five straight games the Predators have tied their previous longest skid of the season, an 0-5-0 slide from Oct. 28-Nov. 7. Like that previous funk, Nashville has also lost all five games in regulation during the current streak and the Preds have been outscored 18-5 over the span of the downturn.
Nashville hasn't lost six in a row since an 0-5-1 slide from Oct. 10-21 of last season.
The Preds' latest loss came Tuesday night against the visiting Dallas Stars. Andrew Raycroft made 44 saves to anchor the Stars in the 4-2 decision at Bridgestone Arena.
Colin Wilson scored both goals for the Predators, who had an 8-0-1 mark in the nine games prior to their current skid. Pekka Rinne allowed four goals on 21 shots, including the final three goals on 10 shots in the third period.
The Predators have not fared well in recent encounters against the Wild. Minnesota has won four of its last six meetings against the Preds and the Wild notched a 5-2 victory when the clubs met in St. Paul on Nov. 26. Nashville has lost three of four and five of its last games in Minnesota.
With 40 points, Nashville is 12th in the Western Conference standings and the Wild are just one point behind the Preds.
Nashville is 9-9-1 as the visiting team this season, while the Wild have a 9-8-2 record on home ice.
Minnesota ended a two-game losing streak in their last trip to the ice, beating visiting San Jose to get a three-game homestand off on a positive note.
Kyle Brodziak notched a pair of goals as the Wild used a third-period surge to dispatch the Sharks, 5-3, at Xcel Energy Center. Minnesota was trailing 3-2 after two periods, but scored three unanswered goals in the final frame to secure the win.
"Everyone stuck together, stuck to the game plan. We kept going hard at them," Brodziak said. "Over the night it started wearing them down. It was a fun game. That's what we have to look for every night, when guys are laying it on the line every minute of the game."
Brent Burns added a goal and one assist for the Wild, who won for the fourth time in their last six games. Mikko Koivu and Chuck Kobasew also tallied to back a 29-save performance from Niklas Backstrom.
Backstrom suffered a lower-body injury in practice on Thursday, but he may be able to start tonight. Wild forward Cal Clutterbuck is also questionable tonight with an undisclosed injury.
Meanwhile, Minnesota defenseman Marek Zidlicky is expected to miss at least two weeks after suffering a shoulder injury in Wednesday's game against the Sharks.
12/31 10:48:49 ET