After a disappointing road trip where the Wild never led, had a nasty flu bug and dealt with more injuries, they now return to St Paul to begin a four-game homestand. Tonight they welcome divisional foe the Nashville Predators. Should be a very a hostile environment considering some guy named James Neal took out Zach Parise. Parise was cleared for (no contact) practice today and is closer to returning. Jonas Brodin looks good to go after he was a late-scratch on Thursday. Jason Zucker is also dressing tonight after suffering a lower-body injury against Boston.
Nashville got the best of the Wild the last time out and have endured success in St Paul, going 4-0-1 record over their last five games against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. But Nashville is on the heels of a back-back and have yet to win a game this year (0-2-1) in back-back games this season. With Pekka Rinne starting last night, Carter Hutton could get the nod, but similar to the Wild's goaltending, Rinne has been there rock all year with Hutton starting just two games this season, the last on November 2nd.
Devan Dubnyk in net for the Wild who took the loss for Minnesota in the previous meeting this season. Dubnyk is 6-4-2 with a 2.34 GAA, a .922 SV% and one shutout in 13 games (12 starts) against Nashville in his career. Same lines for Minnesota tonight too. Mikko Koivu is set to play his 700th career game Saturday – joining Nick Schultz (743) as the only players to hit the milestone with Minnesota. Minnesota is 4-2-2 against the Central Division this season – no Central team has played more intra-division games than the Wild. Puck drop at 7pm tonight. Go Wild!