Game Day: Wild vs. Preds Preview

After starting the weekend with a loss at Tampa, the Nashville Predators will be looking to bounce back tonight when they host the Minnesota Wild at Bridgestone Arena. Tonight’s contest is the fourth and final meeting of the season between the division foes; the Preds have won three in as many tries against the Wild so far and outscored them 17-6 this season.

The Predators beat Calgary in a shootout last Tuesday, and their next game didn’t come until last night, a 6-2 loss to the Lightning. Nashville’s effort fell short of their expectations on Saturday night, and they will focus on returning to a more consistent performance tonight in the penultimate home game of the regular season.

“We weren’t good enough, frankly, in a lot of different areas,” Preds head coach John Hynes said after Saturday’s game. “I think one of the big things was the discipline of penalties against the power play like that, especially at the start of the game. I also think fair that we had some breakdowns again tonight where we gave them some real high quality looks vs easy looks for with high skill level to get point blank shots We need to clean this up.

“We have to have a playoff mindset,” said Preds captain Romain Josi said last night. “We lost the game tonight, but we’re playing again tomorrow, and we can’t extend this game tomorrow. Tomorrow is a new game, it’s a new day, so we have to make sure we turn the page very quickly. And obviously there are things we need to do better, and I’m sure we’ll look at that tomorrow morning. But after that, we need to have an eliminatory mindset right now. passed the last game. The next game is the most important.”

Predators ahead Michael McCarron returned to the lineup Saturday night after missing eight games with injury. Defenders Ben Harpur and Jeremy Davisas well as forward Eeli Tolvanen, have been crossed out. Blueliner Jeremy Lauzon rest from week to week with a lower body injury.

Tweet from @PR_NHL: The @PredsNHL could secure an eighth straight playoff spot with a win and some help in Sunday’s 11-game slate. #NHLStats #StanleyCup

The good ones :

Josi scored on the power play at Tampa Bay for his 90th point of the season. The Nashville captain became just the ninth defenseman in NHL history – and the first since 1994 – to record 90 points in a single campaign, and his 10th power play goal of the season was the most by an NHL defenseman since his former teammate Shea Weber was 12 in 2016-17 (with MTL).

Alexander Carrier also scored on Saturday night, and Juuse Saros allowed six goals and was retired in favor of david rittich in the third period.

Josi (21g-69a) continues to lead NHL defensemen – and his club – with 90 points, followed by Matt Duchene (40g-39a) with 79 points and Philippe Forsberg (39g-38a) with 77 points. Saros is now 38-25-3; Rittich is 5-3-2.

The opposition:

The Wild have won each of their last four games, including a pair of 6-3 wins over Vancouver and Seattle on Thursday and Friday, respectively. Kirill Kaprizov leads Minnesota with 45 goals and 101 points, followed by former Preds forward Kevin Fiala (32g-50y) with 82 points and Mats Zuccarello (24g-55y) with 79 points. Goaltender Cam Talbot is 31-12-4 this season; Marc-André Fleury is 7-1-0 since joining the Wild at the trade deadline.

All-Time Meetings:

The Predators are 42-26-(5)-8 against the Wild, including a 25-9-(2)-4 record at Bridgestone Arena. Nashville is 4-1-0 in its last five games against the Wild; they are 9-1-0 in their last 10; and 5-0-0 in their last five home games.

The Predators have won 10 of their last 11 games against the Wild, a streak that included a seven-game winning streak from March 27, 2018, to October. February 24, 2019. Nashville has allowed two or fewer goals in six of those seven wins. Nashville hasn’t lost to Minnesota at home since Dec. 27, 2016, an eight-game span.

Notable against Minnesota:

Roman Josi has 11 points (4g-7a) in three games against the Wild this season. Two of his four four-point efforts in 2021-22 have come against Minnesota.

Filip Forsberg scored his first career NHL goal on October 8, 2013 against Minnesota. Forsberg’s 15 goals against the Wild are tied for the second most goals he has scored against a single opponent in his NHL career; he has eight points (3g-5a) in three games against the Wild in 2021-22.

Ryan Johansen has 25 points (10g-15a) in 31 career games against the Wild, including 15 points (8g-7a) in his last 14 meetings. He has five goals against Minnesota this season, including his first career hat trick on April 5.

Matt Duchene had 31 points (8g-23a) in 49 career games against the Wild. Mikael Granlund was acquired from Minnesota in February 2019; he played seven seasons with the Wild from 2012 to 2019 and had 93 goals and 317 points. Luc Kounin was drafted 15th overall by the Wild in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. Kunin appeared in 131 games for Minnesota from 2017-2020, totaling 52 points (23g-29a).

Wild head coach Dean Evason was head coach of the Milwaukee Admirals – Nashville’s AHL affiliate – from 2012 to 2018. Minnesota forwards Kevin Fiala (2015-19), Frederick Gaudreau (2016-19 ) and Ryan Hartman (2018-19) were former members of the Predators.

Watch and listen:

Coverage of tonight’s Nashville CT 7 p.m. puck drop begins at 6:30 p.m. with the Predators Live! pre-match show on Bally Sports South hosted by Lyndsay Rowley and Terry Crisp. Willy Daunic, Chris Mason and Kara Hammer have the call on the TV side, while Pete Weber and Hal Gill will broadcast on 102.5 The Game and the Predators Radio Network. Pre-game radio coverage begins at 6 p.m. with Darren McFarland.

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