Wednesday, December 28, 2011
The Nashville Predators will host the Minnesota Wild tonight at 7:00 p.m. at Bridgestone Arena. This will be the second meeting of the year between these two clubs. The Wild completed a third period comeback against the Predators on November 23 in Minnesota when they scored three consecutive goals in the final frame to get a 3-1 victory.
Minnesota has been struggling as of late, going 3-5-2 in their last 10 games. The Wild have particularly been struggling in their last seven games, going 0-5-2 during that span. They will be desperately searching for a win in Nashville tonight.
The Predators have reached a crossroad in the 2011-2012 season. Shea Weber is out indefinitely with a concussion, and the Predators are missing a big hole offensively and defensively. Nashville will have to survive without Weber if they want to have a postseason birth this year.
On Monday night against Detroit, the 4-1 score on the scoreboard would indicate that Nashville was beaten pretty soundly by the Red Wings. However, that really wasn't the case. Nashville had plenty of chances to score in that game, but were unable to capitalize. The Predators have to get the same sort of offensive chances against the Wild tonight and will have to convert.
My player to watch for the Wild is Dany Heatley. Heatley collected a goal against the Predators in their first meeting this year, which proved to be a costly one for Nashville. The Predators will have to limit Heatley's scoring opportunities tonight.
For Nashville, my player to watch is Ryan Suter. With Weber being out, the onus is on Suter to be the defensive leader on the team. Look for Suter to reach 30 minutes of ice time tonight. He'll have to be a stabilizing force on defense, and will have to limit the chances for the Wild.
(Photo Credit: Leanne Charles)