NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Tuesday, January 22nd
(All times Eastern)
Nashville Predators (0-0-2) at Minnesota Wild (2-0-0), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Minnesota Wild shelled out mega dollars to sign Zach
Parise and Ryan Suter this offseason in the hopes of snapping a four-season
The Wild have so far looked more than capable of pulling that off and they try
to wrap a three-game homestand perfect on Tuesday night in a matchup with
Suter's former team, the Nashville Predators.
Minnesota made a big splash in free agency when it signed Parise and Suter to
matching 13-year, $98 million contracts on July 4 and have gotten off their
best start since winning the first four games of the 2008-09 campaign.
The Wild began the season with a victory over Colorado on Saturday before
notching a 1-0 triumph versus the Dallas Stars the following night. Parise had
two assists in his Wild debut before logging the only goal of Sunday's game in
the first period.
"It's been great. We're 2-0, so that's always a really good start," said
Parise. "I think there's definitely still room for some improvement. We can
get better in different areas, but bottom line is we won our first two and
that's what we wanted to do."
Perhaps even a bigger story than Parise's first goal with the Wild was Josh
Harding's 24-save shutout. The netminder was making his first appearance since
being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis during the offseason and posted his
seventh career shutout.
"It feels good right now. It was a long time coming. It's been a tough couple
months here and this made it all worth it," Harding admitted. "I can't thank
the team enough for having my back. They made some great plays and made my job
a lot easier."
The Wild, who will play their first road game on Friday in Detroit, are still
waiting for Suter to notch his first point of the season. It could happen on
Tuesday against the club that selected him seventh overall in the 2003 draft.
Suter, who turned 28 on Monday, teamed with current Predators captain Shea
Weber to form one of the top defensive pairings in the league before taking
his services to Minnesota. Suter had 38 goals and 200 assists in 542 games
over seven seasons with Nashville and went to his first All-Star Game last
The defenseman won't be making a return trip to Nashville, though, as the
Predators are set to embark on a franchise record-tying seven-game swing on
Tuesday. They are still looking for their first victory, having dropped their
first two at home in shootouts.
Two days after a defeat to Columbus, Nashville dropped a 4-3 decision to St.
Louis on Monday night. Patric Hornqvist had a goal and two assists in
regulation, while Colin Wilson and Mike Fisher also scored.
However, Craig Smith and Martin Erat both came up empty on their shootout
chances, while Pekka Rinne did not stop either skater he faced after making 36
saves through overtime.
"We haven't been beaten in a game," Predators coach Barry Trotz said. "We've
been beaten in a little bit of a skills competition."
Trotz's team won't play its next home game until Feb. 7 as it matches the
seven-game swing the club endured from Oct. 30-Nov. 12, 2002. The Predators
only won once on that trek.
Nashville could also be in for another tight game as all four contests between
these two clubs last season were decided by a single goal. The Predators did
win three of those games and have taken seven of the last nine encounters
01/22 11:06:39 ET