The Nashville Predators will take on the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday night at Xcel Energy Center after a five game homestand at Bridgestone Arena. Nashville posted a 2-1-2 record on the homestand, and will now be on the road for the next five contests.
Minnesota is a different team from a year ago. Newcomers Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi have added depth to this Wild team, and Mikko Koivu leads the team in points with 13. The Wild lead the Western Conference with a 12-5-3 record and 27 points.
Nashville is coming off of an embarrassing 6-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on home ice last night. Pekka Rinne started the game for the Predators but only played the first period. Anders Lindback was brought in for relief for the remaining two periods of last night's game so Rinne will most likely be back in the net tonight.
The Wild are playing good hockey as of late, winning each of their past four games. In their last outing, the Wild got a 3-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues by way of a shootout. Niklas Backstrom and Josh Harding have both provided stellar goaltending for the Wild so far this year.
After last night's drubbing, the Predators will be looking to respond with a much better effort tonight. Blake Geoffrion has been scratched for each of the past two games, and Nashville has lost them both. I would expect him to be in the lineup tonight.
My player to watch for the Wild is Matt Cullen. He has 11 points on the year so far and is third on the team in scoring. Cullen is a smart hockey player, and he's been in the league for a while. He knows what it takes to win.
For Nashville, my player to watch is David Legwand. Since coming back into the lineup from injury on Saturday night against Columbus, he's split time between the second line and third line. In tonight's game, it will be interesting to see what line Legwand is on and who he's playing with.