The Minnesota Wild (3-6) travel to Nashville Thursday night to take on the Predators (5-3-1). Minnesota faced Nashville in their season opener, where they gave up four third-period goals in a 5-2 loss. After a brutal 1-6 start, the Wild have won 2 in a row, and clearly Wild fans are happy:
Minnesota has been piss-poor on the road this year with a 1-5 record in six games, with their lone win coming against the one-win Ottawa Senators. This is bad news for the Wild as Nashville has been on fire at home with a 4-1-1 record, including a 6-1 beat down of the Anaheim Ducks last Tuesday.
Minnesota was able to shut down the electric Connor McJesus and got a much needed 3-0 win over the Edmonton Oilers, who were 7-1-1 before the game. It wasn't all good news for Minnesota as three time All-star goalie Devan Dubnyk left the game with an injury.
Players to Watch: Nashville
1. Ryan Ellis (Known Beauty)
The 28-year-old defensemen is on FIRE with 9 points in the last 5 games and is leading the Predators in points with 12 (1-11-12).
2. Pekka Rinne
Nashville's long-time franchise goaltender has remained ELITE this season. At 36 years old, he has shown no signs of slowing down. He currently holds a 5-0-1 record, with a respectable 2.31 GAA and .921 Save %.
3. Matt Duchene
Nashville's big free-agent signing has paid dividends to start the year. The 28-year-old is 2nd on the team in points with 11 and is on pace to set a career-high in points this season.
Players to Watch: Minnesota
1. Brad Hunt
- I think I am in love with Brad Hunt. He has a deadly shot and a great one-timer as well. Not only is he leading the team in points and goals, but he's also doing it for only $700k this year. Shame on Jake Bringgold for saying he sucked on our season preview episode of the WildTakes podcast.
2. Eric Staal
- I owe Staal an apology. After the first 7 games of the year, Eric Staal only had one point and was a -10, and I was pissed so I called him out on our last episode of the WildTakes podcast. Well in the 2 games since I called him out, Staal has scored 2 goals and added 2 assists and is starting to elevate his game. Let's hope he keeps it up. Oh, and Eric Staal is definitely the Kurt Cousins of the NHL with his "dad-like" celebrations.
3. Alex Stalock
- After Dubnyk got hurt against the Oilers, Stalock came into the game and stopped all 16 shots he faced to preserve the shutout. Stalock has played four games and holds a 1-1 record with an OUTSTANDING 1.64 GAA and .942 save %.
Minnesota currently has the dreaded injury bug. Kevin Fiala, Joel Eriksson Ek, Victor Rask, Devan Dubnyk, and Greg Pateryn are all out for the Minnesota Wild. Minnesota has called up Kaapo Kahkonen to serve as back up goalie due to Dubnyk's injury. Filip Forsberg is considered day-to-day with a lower-body injury for Nashville.
When: Thursday Oct 23 @ 7 PM CST