Found April 03, 2012 on The Predatorial:
Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

 The Minnesota Wild are looking to play spoiler from here on out and what better way than to derail the Predators drive to get home ice at season’s end.

The Predators lost a heart-breaker on Saturday in front of a sellout crowd, unfortunately swimming with red shirts of the opposition. To come back from a 4 goal deficit to tie the game up was a spectacular thing to behold and sent a message around the league that this team will not give up…ever. The word Trotz would use is…resiliency.

The Wild are coming off a shootout win over those same Blackhawks and riding a 3 game winning streak. Lately, the Wild are known to take extra time to decide their games; the last three going to overtime/shootouts to decide the outcome.

Game time is at 7 P.M. central and few if any tickets remain. FS Tennessee has the T.V. feed, and 102.5 the Game will have the airwaves.

This Year’s Series: 2-1-0 (Home 1-0-0) (Away 1-1-0)

Looking at the Wild: Dany Heatley is pacing the Wild with 60 points. Heatley and company have done a decent job this year at scoring, but the problem for the Wild has been injuries, defense and goaltending.

Harding and Backstrom are decent but not game-changing. Backstrom had this ability a few seasons ago but has lost his stride in the last two years. The defensive core gives up too much whether it be time and space or the odd-man rush that leads to goals. Case in point, every defenseman who has played over 15 games for the Wild with the exception of Clayton Stoner (you heard me right, Clayton Stoner) is a minus on the year.

The forwards aren’t any better with only Latendresse, who has been injured for most of the year, Mikko Koivu and Dany Heatley being on the plus side of things (Koivu at team-leading +11).

Looking at the Predators: A ton of heart was shown Saturday night against the Chicago Blackhawks, a team that is close on the heels of Nashville battling for the 4th-6th spots in the Western Conference. After Chicago went up 4-0 in the second period, the Predators fought and clawed their way back into the game to make it very interesting in the third. Only a Seabrook goal a minute after the tying goal would end this match in Chicago’s favor, but the message was already sent.

Alexander Radulov has been playing out of his mind, backing up all the expectations and proving that he belongs in this league against the finest hockey players in the world. In six games he has six points (3 goals, 3 assists) and his goal against the Blackhawks by splitting the defense of Chicago for a backhand score was highlight-worthy.

For the Wild to win: Traffic to the net and a tighter defensive scheme. Nashville now has tons of speed coming through the neutral zone with Radulov, Erat Hornqvist and Bourque bringing the wheels on a nightly basis. It’ll be up to the defensive lines for the Wild to slow that process while supplying an agressive forecheck; something Nashville has struggled with all season.

Backstrom has to start clamping down in net. He may have won the last two games in a shootout, but fact of the matter is he allowed 5 goals total in those 2 games. With Nashville finally having some offensive weapons, the Wild will be in the crosshairs all night and it’ll be up to Backstrom to thwart any oppotunity for the Predators to start piling up the shots and goals.

For the Predators to win: Use the drive and determination showed to rebound against Chicago and play like that the rest of the season and post-season. Even in the face of a taken over barn by Chicago fans, the Predators still found a way to battle back and light the lamp on Chicago four times. Led by Captain Shea Weber, the Predators have never and will never back down from any adversity (Columbus and Detroit know this all too well).

Pekka Rinne had two flukey goals go in Saturday and a flat-out breakaway by one of the league’s best go five-hole. Rinne is still one of the elite goalies in the NHL and he has a chance to prove that on this final week of the regular season. If Rinne and the defense of Nashville can shut down offensive phenoms in Setoguchi, Heatley and Koivu, look for them to take that mentality against Dallas and Colorado later this week who have some offensive talent of their own.

———————————————–

If you like what I have listed out here or if you have any questions/comments/concerns, feel free to let me know on Twitter…@Preducated
Stay HardCore, friends

THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Rinne's humble beginnings lead to greatness

NASHVILLE As the story goes, Pekka Rinne played so rarely back in his native Finland that the Predators' scout who found him based his opinions solely on what he saw in warm-ups. The Predators drafted the goalie in 2004 four years after he became eligible, meaning that for four years no other team saw anything in him that made him worth gambling a pick on, even in the eighth...

Predators will stick to their own game when hosting Wild on Tuesday

The Minnesota Wild have won three straight games against teams looking to better their seeding in the upcoming Stanley Cup playoffs. The Wild has played the role of spoiler in the last three games. Predators forward Patric Hornqvist says as long as Nashville sticks to playing its own game, the Predators should come away with two points. “We just have to out-work them. We need a...

Cyclones’ season over, Chet Pickard assigned to Preds…

With the Cincinnati Cyclones’ ECHL season over, the Nashville Predators have elected to call up goaltender prospect Chet Pickard. Don’t read too much into this move, however. If they wanted to get Pickard playing time, they would have assigned him to the AHL Milwaukee Admirals. Instead, they called him up to the big club so that the 2008 first round pick can work closer with...

Predators admit to scoreboard watching in finals games of regular season

The Nashville Predators are in a three-way battle for fourth place in the Western Conference standings with Detroit and Chicago. With fourth place comes home ice advantage during the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Some Predators admit to watching scores from around the Central Division On Tuesday night, Nashville’s 2-1 shootout win over the Minnesota Wild temporarily...

Anything, but Wild – Predators beat Minnesota 2-1 in shootout

By Seth Lake Heading into their final three games of the regular season in the midst of a fight for the fourth seed in the Western Conference and home-ice advantage in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs beginning next week, the Nashville Predators took to the ice at Bridgestone Arena on Tuesday night facing a Minnesota Wild club that had fallen out of the playoff race, but...

Wild edge Blackhawks in shootout

Devin Setoguchi and Erik Christensen scored in a shootout to help the Minnesota Wild beat the Chicago Blackhawks 5-4 on Sunday night for their third straight victory. Setoguchi had a goal and two assists in regulation, then sealed the victory in the third round of the shootout with a quick shot that beat Ray Emery. Patrick Kane had the lone Chicago goal in the shootout against...

Radulov lifts Predators to 2-1 shootout win

The playoffs are almost here and Smashville can feel it. It's time for winning playoff hockey to be played. On Tuesday night, the Nashville Predators played well enough defensively to escape from the Minnesota Wild with a 2-1 victory, which means two much-needed points in the standings. Nashville is currently playing a game of back-and-forth with Detroit and Chicago for the...

Predators edge Wild, reach 100 points

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Alexander Radulov scored the lone goal in the shootout, and the Nashville Predators edged the Minnesota Wild 2-1 Tuesday night to reach 100 points for the second time in three seasons. The Predators, who have two games left, moved back into fourth place in the Western Conference -- one point over idle Detroit and two over Chicago. Detroit will finish the...

Video- Another Skate To The Face

via Michael Russo of the Star Tribune, The game began with a frightening incident when the skate of linemate Darroll Powe struck center Kyle Brodziak in the face. Blood fell and Brodziak rushed to the bench. “It was scary,” Yeo said. “I think it shows you how much he’s respected by our whole team. As soon as it happened, there was a lot of concern. We’ve got Mikko yelling...

Chet Pickard Called Up to the Big League

The Nashville Predators have assigned Chet Pickard to the NHL. Pickard will back-up Anders Lindback, Tuesday night. Pekka Rinne is sick, per Joshua Cooper. Here is the Press Release.Nashville, Tenn. (April 3, 2012) – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that goaltender Chet Pickard (CHEHT PIH-kuhrd) has been assigned to...

Wild-Predators Preview

The Nashville Predators' spot in the postseason is secure, but their recent spotty play means they won't want to take their final regular-season games lightly. The Minnesota Wild are out of contention, but relishing their role as a spoiler. Possibly needing to win its final three games for a chance at home-ice advantage in the first round, Nashville on Tuesday night will...

Predators take hold of 4th place, jolt the Wild in a shootout 2-1

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Mike Strasinger With 4th place on the line over the course of the current week, Nashville knew they couldn’t afford a loss if they wanted to secure home-ice advantage in at least the first round of the playoffs. With Pekka Rinne apparently under the weather per multiple reports, it would be Anders Lindback that would have to navigate the ship for the Predators...
NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.