=== Preds host Wild with chance to move up in the West ===
(Sports Network) - The Nashville Predators will try to jump back into the
fourth spot in the Western Conference this evening as they take on the surging
The Predators had won three of four before suffering a 5-4 setback to the
Blackhawks on Saturday. That kept Nashville at 98 points on the season, one
behind idle Detroit for the fourth spot with three games to play. The Red
Wings return to action on Wednesday when they visit the Blues.
Nashville is also tied with Chicago for the fifth seed after the Blackhawks
earned a point in their 5-4 shootout loss to the Wild on Sunday. The Predators
own the current tiebreaker having played one less game than Chicago.
The Blackhawks jumped out to a 4-0 lead over the Predators on Saturday, but
Martin Erat and Shea Weber scored in the second period, and Weber added a
game-tying goal at 7:10 of the third minutes after Alexander Radulov's third
goal of the season.
However, Chicago got the game-winner from Brent Seabrook at 8:19 in the frame,
beating Pekka Rinne, who made saves on 32-of-37 shots faced.
"Yeah, there was opportunity. If you win tonight, you've got a little bit of
breathing room," Predators head coach Barry Trotz said. "It's still in our
control in terms of the four or five seed, what's not in our control now is
Weber is tied for the lead among NHL defensemen with 19 goals, while Nashville
continues to also get excellent production from Erat and blueliner Ryan Suter.
The former has a career-high 58 points on the season, while Suter had three
assists to give him a personal-best 46 points. David Legwand, meanwhile, had
two assists to make him the first player in Predators history to reach 500
The Predators won the opener of a three-game homestand and will also host the
Stars on Thursday before ending their regular season with a visit to Colorado
Nashville is 24-10-5 at home this season and has won four straight as the host
versus the Wild, as well as five of the past six encounters overall.
Minnesota, though, has won three straight for the first time since a seven-
game win streak from Nov. 28-Dec. 10, picking up wins over playoff contenders
Florida, Los Angeles and Chicago. The Wild got a goal and two assists in
regulation from Devin Setoguchi versus the Blackhawks on Sunday before he
netted the winner in the shootout.
Dany Heatley added a goal and an assist, while Clayton Stoner and Kyle
Brodziak also lit the lamp for the Wild. Josh Harding stopped 31 shots in the
"It's big for our club to finish strong and make sure we do things the right
way instead of taking an early vacation here," said Setoguchi, whose team sits
in 12th place in the Western Conference with 78 points.
After tonight, the Wild will end their season with home games against the
Blackhawks and Coyotes.
One key for the Preds will be slowing down Heatley, who has totaled four goals
and an assist in the three previous meetings this season and 22 points in 16
career contests against Nashville.
04/03 11:01:09 ET