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Predatorial Pregame Warmup: October 22, 2013


Oct 21, 2013

Written by: Patten Fuqua


Last updated: October 22, 2013 at 8:50 am


Nashville Predators (5-3-1) at Minnesota Wild (3-3-3)
Gametime: 7:00pm CT / 8:00pm ET
Television: FS-Tennessee
Radio: 102.5 The Game



Nashville Predators - Roman Josi (concussion)

Minnesota Wild - Charlie Coyle (knee)

Projected Goaltending Matchup

Pekka Rinne, 4-3-1, 0 SO, 0.910Sv%, 2.49GAA


Josh Harding, 3-2-1, 0 SO, 0.948Sv%, 1.11GAA

Keep an eye on...

Nashville Predators -

Nick Spaling – Spaling has managed to score just one assist so far in this young season. However, he always seems to come big against Minnesota. He has three career multipoint efforts against the Wild, most recently a one goal-one assist effort last January in Minnesota.

In 10 games against the Wild, Spaling has eight points (5 G – 3 A). That makes up nearly a fifth of his career point totals, as he has 53 career points (27 G – 26 A).

Minnesota Wild -

Josh Harding - Harding’s season actually began in Nashville this season with an Eric Nystrom penalty shot. Starting goaltender Niklas Backstrom was knocked out of the contest and Harding was forced to come into the game in relief. He immediately let in Nystrom’s penalty shot, but since then has only let in six more goals as Minnesota’s starting goaltender.

Right now, Harding is riding an incredible 1.11 GAA and 0.948 save percentage…and he’s done both without a single shutout in seven appearances.

Harding has been so solid in net that Nicklas Backstrom may have lost the starting role while he has been nursing his injury.

Main Storylines

Nashville Predators -

Nashville has rolled off a five game streak without losing in regulation, tying last year’s longest streak. In addition, they’ve been firing pucks at net seemingly at will, holding opponents to low scoring totals and improving each game. Most impressively, Nashville seems to have dominated puck possession in all five of those games during the streak.

After losing a franchise record 12 straight road games, Nashville has won the last two. With that monkey off their back, it will be interesting to see if they tie last year’s best stretch on the road before the first month of the season comes to a close.

Minnesota Wild -

While the Predators finally seem to be finding a little bit of offensive mojo, the Wild have completely lost theirs. In their last 4 games, Minnesota has scored 5 goals.

They return to the XCEL Energy Center after a four-game road trip that saw them finish 1-2-1 with a two goal output against Buffalo being the team’s highest scoring game.

More concerning, perhaps, is that only two of the goals during the road trip came at full strength.

Will the Wild rediscover their offense? Pekka Rinne should prove a tall order to beat.

Last time out...

The Wild played the Predators at Bridgestone Arena for Nashville’s home opener on October 8th. Zach Parise opened to scoring for the Wild in the first period, but Filip Forsberg answered back and then Colin Wilson answered again to give Nashville the lead.

Nicklas Backstrom started the game in net, but was injured on a play with Eric Nystrom. As mentioned before, Josh Harding came in to face Nystrom on a penalty shot and was immediately scored upon. Nystrom’s goal ended up being the game winner as Jared Spurgeon scored in the third to make the final score 3-2 Predators.

One interesting fact...

The Predators have not given up a power play goal in their last five games, killing off 16 straight opportunities.

Nashville was 29th out of 30 teams last season with a 75.5% penalty kill, but currently sit at 15th in the NHL with an 81.8%.


Photo Credit: Sarah Fuqua