NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Wednesday, November 23rd
(All times eastern)
Nashville Predators (10-6-4) at Minnesota Wild (12-5-3), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - A few days off for the Minnesota Wild could be a bad thing
for the Nashville Predators tonight at Xcel Energy Center.
The Wild haven't played since a 3-2 shootout win versus St. Louis on Saturday
in the second installment of a six-game homestand and rode Mikko Koivu to
their fourth straight win and ninth in 11 tries. Koivu posted a shorthanded
goal in the second period, lit the lamp in the third and also scored in the
shootout for Minnesota, which has won five straight at home and improved to
7-2-1 as the host this season.
"I did ok," Koivu said. "It's not about one guy or one line and I think we
realized that. I think we did a lot of good things. We just have to believe
that it will pay off and we'll get some wins."
Koivu had one goal through 19 games this season prior to Saturday. Matt Cullen
recorded the decisive goal in the shootout and Jaroslav Halak turned aside 30
of the 32 shots that went his way. The Wild will also host Edmonton, Calgary
and Tampa Bay on the residency.
The Wild are three points ahead of the Oilers in the Northwest Division and
sit even with Chicago and Pittsburgh for the NHL lead with 27 points.
On the injury front for Minnesota, defenseman Marco Scandella missed his
fourth consecutive game because of a concussion and is expected to be
activated from injured reserve in time for tonight's game.
Nashville just went 2-1-2 on a recent five-game homestand and will begin a
five-game road swing tonight in St. Paul.
The Predators suffered their second straight loss with Tuesday's 6-2 defeat at
the hands of the Edmonton Oilers, as Jordin Tootoo posted a goal and an assist
while Jonathon Blum added a goal. Pekka Rinne started the game in net, but was
pulled after the first period as he gave up three goals on 13 shots. Anders
Lindback finished the game in net and allowed three goals on 19 shots.
"We all need to do better, these early games are important down the stretch,"
said Nashville forward Mike Fisher. "Especially home games, this was a
frustrating, embarrassing one for us."
Nashville is three points behind Chicago in the Central Division and owns a
6-3-1 mark as the guest. It will also visit Detroit, Edmonton, Calgary and
Vancouver on the upcoming trek.
Wednesday's game between the Predators and Wild is the first of four meetings
this season. Nashville won three of the four matchups last season and split
both bouts at Xcel Energy Center.
11/23 10:50:49 ET