Originally posted on Inside Smashville  |  Last updated 12/27/11

Season Records

Minnesota Wild 20-12-5

Nashville Predators 18-14-4

How will the Predators deal with the loss of captain Shea Weber to an upper-body injury?

The Minnesota Wild has lost four straight games. The Nashville Predators are losers of three out of their last four contests. Both teams have recently been hit with the injury bud, Minnesota more so than Nashville, but the Predators are without their star captain Shea Weber.

Weber missed Monday night’s game against Detroit and is listed by the team as having an upper-body injury. It is possible that Weber has a concussion after sustaining a hit to the head from Dallas defenseman Mark Fistric.

Kevin Klein has missed four games over the span of a week for Nashville with flu-like symptoms. If Klein misses much more time concerns will be raised that there is something else wrong with the 2003 second round draft pick.

The injuries on defense have allowed a couple of rookies make their way into the lineup, including the much anticipated debut of Ryan Ellis. Ellis played just over 18 minutes on Monday night in a 4-1 losing cause against Detroit. Ellis had 3 shots on goal, 2 hits and 2 blocked shots while ending the night -1.

Jon Blum got back into the lineup after being sent down to Milwaukee for not playing up to his potential in exchange for yet another rookie, Roman Josi, to crack the lineup.

December has not been a kind month to the Wild on the injury front. Devin Setoguichi is out with a left ankle injury and is on injured reserve. Casey Wellman is also on injured reserve with a wrist injury. Guillaume Latendress is out indefinitely with post-concussion symptoms.

Two more members of the Wild missed Monday night’s game against Colorado, including former Predator – and shot blocking machine – Greg Zannon. Zannon is listed by TSN as having an upper-body injury. Clayton Stoner also missed Monday night’s action with a groin injury.

The injury bug continued to bite on Monday night with Jared Spurgeon leaving the game with an upper body injury.

Boxing Day was not kind to either squad this year, with both Minnesota and Nashville losing in convincing fashion.

The Predators found themselves down by three goals for the third consecutive game. Unable to mount a comeback, the Predators lost the game 4-1 but were able to break Jimmy Howard’s shutout bid with only 2:!2 remaining in regulation on a goal by Blum.

Minnesota had a 2-1 lead late in the second period but allowed Colorado to tie the game with just 1:02 left in the middle frame. The Avalanche scored two third period goals to win their fourth game in a row by a 4-2 score over the Wild.

Despite Nashville’s deep holes as of late, the power play is still among the League’s best with a 21.6 per cent success rate. Only Vancouver has a better power play than Nashville. The Wild are 21st in the League on the power play with a 15.7 percent success rate.

Fortunes are reversed when it comes to the penalty kill. The Predators have struggled on the penalty kill, but have killed off five for five penalties in the last two games, both losses, against Dallas and Detroit. Nashville sits 22nd in the League on the penalty kill with an 80.6 percent kill off rate. Minnesota ranks 9th in the League on the penalty kill, killing off 84.3 percent of the team’s penalties.

 

 

Photo credit: AP

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