The Nashville Predators will face off against the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night at Bridgestone Arena. This will be the first of 12 remaining home games for the Predators in a 15 game span, which is the most in the NHL. If the Preds are going to make the playoffs this year, this homestand is going to be where it was made. The Predators have five straight games at home against Minnesota, Colorado, Los Angeles, Boston, and Detroit. However, the biggest game is always the next game so the Preds have to concentrate on beating the Wild. Here are three keys to beating the Minnesota Wild:
1. Shut down Martin Havlat. Havlat is a force against the Predators and always has been. If the Preds are able to keep him off of the scoresheet, their chances of winning the game are going to go up dramatically.
2. Bury quality scoring chances. Obviously, that's a whole lot easier said than done, but the Predators do not have a choice at this point. The key to that is going to be Mike Fisher. Fisher puts himself in the positions to take quality shots, but he has to bury them.
3. The crowd must be electric. For all intents and purposes, this is a playoff game. The Preds are battling the Wild for a playoff spot. The playoffs have to start now for the team, and they have to start now for the fans.
I think the Predators are going to play well against the Wild. As a matter of fact, I'm going to take a bold step and guarantee the Preds are going to win this game. Negativity has surrounded this team lately(some due to me) but I just have a feeling that the boys are going to get it done Thursday night. They better because they're in trouble if they don't.