Tonight the Wild play host to the division rival the Nashville Predators. The Predators have had a great year to the surprise of some, and only add to a crowded Central Division. Good news wild fans, the Cook-e monster is back for the first time in 22 games. Ryan Carter will also dress tonight, as he has been out of the lineup since December 12th. Darcy Kuemper gets the nod between the pipes after suffering through a stomach ailment. Minnesota needs a big showing from Kuemper from here on out, or well, Chuck Fletcher may find himself looking for another goalie. Other than Nate Prosser playing for Matt Dumba, Minnesota has its opening day lineup intact for the first time ever it seems.
Eight of the last 12 contests between the two teams have been decided by one goal. The Predators will be without James Neal which is huge for the Wild, as Neal has been putting together a fine season. Since Nov. 28, all of the Wild’s nine contests have been decided by one goal, except for Chicago’s 5-3 win with an empty-net goal Tuesday. Minnesota has also not won back-back games in over a month. After dropping one to Division rival Chicago, this would be huge as Minnesota needs a big win against a Division "power-house." Nashville has responded to each of its eight losses this season with a win, having yet to lose two games in a row.
Of course we will get to see our ol' pal Matt Cullen tonight! Nashville has had success at the X since 2010 and are 9-3-3 against the Wild and have claimed 10 of a possible 14 points on Xcel Energy Center ice Check back at 6:45 for the gamethread and go Wild!