Chcuk Fletcher remained active at the trade deadline again this season acquiring Sean Bergenheim with a 2016 seventh-round pick from the Florida Panthers for a 2016 third-round pick. With injuries adding up to key players, Minnesota knew they needed more depth and Bergenheim provides that. He has playoff experience and brings a gritty presence that the Wild have lost with Matt Cooke and Ryan Carter's injuries. Minnesota had a tough loss to Edmonton and now find themselves a point out of the top 8. Nashville owns the leagues best record and have more points this season (89) then they did in the full 82-game season last year (88).
The Predators have gotten the best of the Wild in the two previous match ups in St. Paul. Now Minnesota must look for points away from the X, in a hostile environment. Nashville tied an NHL record for the most wins by a team through its first 30 home games of the season (26-3-1). Only two other teams have done that in the last 37 years. Minnesota owns a 8-13-4 record in Nashville. Former Predator, Ryan Suter will be most-likely hearing the boo-birds from Nashville faithful tonight too. The Wild are in Nashville two more times after tonight to close out the season series. After scoring one goal against Edmonton, and acquiring Bergenheim, Yeo wants a different look up front.
Bergenheim - Koivu - Vanek
Parise - Granlund - Pominville
Niederreiter - Coyle - Schroeder
Haula - Brodziak - Fontaine
Yeo talked about how much he's really liked Thomas Vanek's scoring chances lately, and pairing him with red-hot Mikko Koivu (5-16=21 in his 25 games) will generate plenty of offense. Bergenheim is also Finnish and has played with and against Mikko Koivu since they were kids so there can be chemistry there. The 3rd line is reunited as they had success in Vancouver last week and the hope is they can create those chances again. Justin Fontaine has been paying very well lately, but he has adapted from role-role better then anyone on the Wild this season. So dont look too much into him being moved to the 4th line
Devan Dubnyk will start for the 19th time tonight. Doobie is 4-3-2 with a 2.34 GAA, a .925 SV% and one shutout in 10 games (nine starts) against Nashville in his career. Pekka Rinne is 11-4-2 with a 2.12 GAA, a .923 SV% and three shutouts in 18 games (16 starts) vs. the Wild. The game tonight is on NBCSN, with puck drop at 7:30, with the gamethread opening at 7:15. Go Wild.