NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Sunday, January 12th (All times Eastern)
Minnesota Wild (24-18-5) at Nashville Predators (19-20-7), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Nashville Predators would prefer to avoid another shootout on Sunday night when they resume their homestand against the Minnesota Wild.
The Predators are winless in five shootouts this season, scoring just one goal in 18 shots in the tiebreaker. Both Craig Smith and David Legwand were denied in last night's 2-1 shootout setback to Ottawa while Marek Mazanec was beaten by both Senators skaters he faced.
Mazanec made 20 saves through overtime and Mike Fisher had a goal for Nashville, which is 1-1-1 on a five-game homestand and 1-2-3 in its last six games overall.
"We haven't been doing too good in shootouts so we have to start finding a way to win the game in regulation," said Fisher. "I thought we played really strong as a team in the third period, just couldn't get any through."
Nashville was without Patric Hornqvist due to a lower-body injury.
The Wild will be looking to bounce back tonight after having a four-game win streak snapped with Saturday's 4-2 loss to the Colorado Avalanche. Charlie Coyle scored twice to erase a two-goal deficit, but the Avs went back in front for good with 7:16 left in the game.
Coyle's two goals came 40 seconds apart in the second period and Dany Heatley assisted on both. Niklas Backstrom made just 14 saves on 17 shots faced in defeat.
"We battled back, we got in the game and I thought we came out well in the third (period) too," said Wild head coach Mike Yeo. "We weren't giving up much, but we've got to find a way to grab the lead there."
The Wild and Predators have split two meetings this season, with each club winning at home. Minnesota has won eight of the past 12 overall, but has lost six of seven and eight of its previous 11 in Nashville.
Backstrom, who had won three straight starts, is 9-5-1 with a 2.66 goals against average in 16 career games versus the Predators, including 14 starts. Darcy Kuemper, serving as the backup with Josh Harding out due to illness, has never faced Nashville.
Neither Mazanec or Carter Hutton have ever faced the Wild. Nashville's No. 1 goaltender Pekka Rinne remains out with a hip injury.
01/12 10:42:39 ET