For the third straight game, the Minnesota Wild faceoff with a division leader and tonight its is the Nashville Predators. Minnesota paid a visit to Nashville last month and at the time, the Preds had the best home-record in the NHL, with Wild winning that game and sending Nashville into a dark, dark place. The Wild have lost just once in regulation on the road (11-1-2) since the Devan Dubnyk trade. We do know it will be Doobie between the pipes again tonight. Good news, Marco Scandella (and Ryan Carter) is close to returning. Bad news, Nate Prosser is banged up and which will cause a shuffle on the blue line for Yeolo.
Suter - Spurgeon
Brodin - Dumba
Leopold - Folin
Dr. Russo told us that Scandella could be ready on Thursday when the Wild host the Capitals, which means someone is going to have to come out. The forwards tonight will remain intact so no Jordan Schroeder for a 5th straight game. Minnesota registered just 19 shots on net, but lit the lamp three times. Sean Bergenheim played a team low (if you dont count Prosser's injury) 9:54 against St. Louis. He may still be finding his game, but it wouldnt shock me to see Schroeder dress soon. Hell, Ryan Carter is day-day now and could also see the ice by weeks-end. However this depth is a good thing to have, and it will certainly be fun/maddening to see how it plays out.
With a 38-24-7 record this season, Minnesota’s 83 points are tied for the most it has ever had through Game 69 of an NHL season. Mikko Koivu has a team-leading 32 points (7-25=32) in 32 career games against Nashville. He is also 3rd in the NHL in faceoffs this season. Thomas Vanek (I couldnt resist) scored his 600th career point and now has five points (4- 1=5) in a four-game point streak – his longest with the Wild.
Minnesota still owns the top wild-card spot in the West, but are just 3 points ahead of the playoff bubble. If the Islanders can defeat the Blackhawks tonight and the Wild can win, Minnesota will be just 3 points back of Chicago for a top-6 seed. Puck drop is at 7pm tonight with the gamethread opening at 6:45. Go Wild!