Preview: Minnesota at Nashville
When: 8:00 PM ET, Saturday, January 16, 2016
Where: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tennessee
The Nashville Predators look to snap a season-high five-game skid as they return home from a dismal road trip to host the Central Division-rival Minnesota Wild on Saturday. Nashville dropped all four games of its trek after falling to Winnipeg at home Jan. 5 and has lost seven of its last eight contests (1-5-2) to sink to sixth place in the Central — one point ahead of the cellar-dwelling Jets.
One bright spot for the Predators on their road trip was newcomer Ryan Johansen, who has recorded two goals and four assists in four contests since being acquired from Columbus. While Nashville is counting on the comforts of home to help it end its slide, Minnesota hopes taking to the road will be the answer to halting its losing streak. The Wild are kicking off a four-game trek of their own after a winless three-game homestand during which they scored a total of three goals, capped by a 1-0 shutout loss to Winnipeg on Friday. Nashville won two of its first three meetings with Minnesota this season, both by a 3-2 score.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, FSN North (Minnesota), FSN Tennessee (Nashville)
ABOUT THE WILD (22-14-8): Nate Prosser returned to the lineup Friday after missing three games with a hand injury. The 29-year-old defenseman blocked two shots and registered two hits in 10 minutes, 14 seconds of ice time. Blue-liner Ryan Suter, who is three points behind Zach Parise (33) for the team lead, has reached the 30-point plateau each of his last nine seasons.
ABOUT THE PREDATORS (19-17-8): Nashville swapped defensemen with Arizona on Friday, sending Victor Bartley to the Coyotes for Stefan Elliott. The 24-year-old Elliott recorded two goals and four assists in 19 games with Arizona this season and has collected eight tallies and 24 points in 82 career contests with Colorado and the Coyotes. James Neal ended his seven-game drought Thursday with his team-leading 16th goal, which also happened to be the 200th of his career.
1. Johansen’s next point will be the 200th of his career.
2. After scoring a career-high 24 goals in 80 games last season, Minnesota RW Nino Niederreiter has netted eight in 44 contests this campaign — none in his last eight.
3. Nashville C Paul Gaustad is expected to appear in his 700th career contest.
PREDICTION: Predators 4, Wild 2