The NHL is set up with an action packed Tuesday night of hockey. Ten games are up on the board throughout March 3. One of these games will be a matchup between the Nashville Predators and the Minnesota Wild. These two teams have had up and down seasons so far, but are in the playoff hunt. This game will drop the puck at around 8:00 PM Eastern time.
The Predators have started this season off with a record of 32-25-8, which has them in the final wild card spot. Nashville is two points behind the Vancouver Canucks, who are in the top wild card spot. The Predators have the Winnipeg Jets and Arizona Coyotes tied with them in points, but Nashville has games in hand. The Predators have lost two in a row and will look to bounce back with a win on Tuesday night.
Minnesota has earned a record of 32-26-7 throughout this season. The Wild are in sixth place of the Central Division, but still in the playoff race. Minnesota is only one point behind the Predators, Jets and Coyotes for that final wild card spot. The Wild lost their last game, which ended a three game winning streak. Minnesota will look to get a new streak going with a win on Tuesday night.
These two teams are in the middle of a tight race of the wild card spots. Three points separate five teams for the final two wild card spots. These two teams will look to come out strong on Tuesday night as they need a big win in this one. Nashville is coming off a game on Monday night, which could make it tougher for them.
These two teams have already met up twice earlier in the season. The first game of the season series was on October 3 in Nashville. Minnesota scored twice in the second to take a 2-1 lead, but they could not finish it. Matt Duchene had three assists, while Ryan Ellis and Filip Forsberg each had a goal and an assist. Pekka Rinne stopped 22 of the 24 shots he faced in a 5-2 win for the Predators.
The second game of the season series stayed in Nashville on October 24. Colton Sissons helped lead the Predators with a goal and an assist. Calle Jarnkrok, Miikka Salomaki and Craig Smith each had a goal to help lead Nashville to the win. Pekka Rinne finished with a 26 shot shutout as the Predators coasted to a 4-0 win at home.
The first two games of the season series were really early in the season and Nashville was able to take them both. The Predators have stalled out a bit as the season has gone along, which is why they are in a wild card position. Nashville will try and recreate some of that early season magic though as they visit Minnesota on Tuesday night.
Nashville’s special teams have been a big part of why they have been held back this season. The Predators have capitalized on 34 of their 211 power play chances this season, which is a lowly 16.3 percent success rate. Nashville’s penalty kill has not been much better. The Predators have allowed their opponents to score 51 power play goals on 198 opportunities, which is a 74.6 percent penalty kill.
The Wild’s power play has been solid throughout this season. Minnesota’s power play has scored on 44 of their 202 chances, which is a 21.8 percent power play percentage. The Wild’s penalty kill has not been quite as good. Minnesota’s penalty kill has allowed opposing teams to capitalize on 45 of their 190 power play chances, which is a 76.3 percent kill rate.
These two teams have struggled throughout this season on the penalty kill. The Wild’s power play has been solid, while Nashville has not found any consistency on their power play. The Predators will need to find a way to step up on the power play in this game, which is possible against Minnesota’s struggling penalty kill. If the Wild dominate on special teams though, I think they will earn the win at home.
Juuse Saros is expected to get the start in net for the Predators on Tuesday night. Saros has earned a record of 14-11-4 throughout his games this season. He has posted a save percentage of .907 and a 2.89 GAA. Saros’ last start came against the Colorado Avalanche, where he stopped 28 of the 30 shots against him in a tough loss for Nashville.
I believe that Devan Dubnyk will get the nod in the crease for Minnesota in this matchup. Dubnyk has put up a record of 11-15-2 throughout this season. In those games, he has earned a .892 save percentage and a GAA of 3.34. Dubnyk’s last start came against the St. Louis Blues, where he stopped 22 of the 26 shots against him in a losing effort.
Neither goalie has had a great season, but Saros has done much better in his performances this season. If Saros came come out strong and put up a performance like he did against the Avalanche, it will give Nashville a good chance to steal this one on the road. Dubnyk has had a season to forget, but he will look to bounce back by helping his team earn a big win on Tuesday night.
The Predators were able to take the first two games of the season series and I like their chances to earn a win on Tuesday night as well. Nashville has a chance to get some part of their special teams going against this team. The Predators also have the better goalie in net, which I think will give them a nice edge. Nashville got blown out by the Oilers on Monday night and I think they will come out strong to get revenge in this one.
BetOnline has Minnesota listed as a -128 against the money line in this game. This implies that the Wild will win this game around 56.1 percent of the time. Minnesota is at home, but I am not sure they will be able to keep up with the Predators. I think Nashville will come out with heat after their embarrassing performance on Monday night.