Preview: Wild at Predators (3/18)

Location: Bridgestone Arena

Game Time: 7:00 pm Central

TV: FSN

Radio: 104.5 The Zone (WGFX-FM)

Records:
Nashville: 39-26-5 (83)
Minnesota: 34-29-6 (74)

Season Series:
10/28/09 – NSH 4 – MIN 3
12/2/09 – NSH 4 – MIN 5 (OT)
12/5/09 – MIN 5 – NSH 3

Mild Wild: After winning the Northwest Division in 2007-08, the Wild have slowly regressed over the past two seasons. Gone are Marian Gaborik, Brian Rolston, and Pavol Demitra, 3 of the top 4 scorers from their last playoff season. Pierre-Marc Bouchard, the second leading-scorer from that season, went down with a concussion in the first game of the year and hasn’t been seen since. Last season, they finished 3rd in their division and missed the playoffs. This year, they sit 4th in their division and 10th in the conference. The good news is that they are only 6 points out of 8th. The bad news is that 7 of their last 13 games are on the road…and they have the most regulation road losses of any team in the NHL not named the Oilers. Worst of all, it doesn’t seem to be getting any better for the Craig Leipold’s team anytime in the near future: The Hockey News Future Watch rated the Wild’s prospects 29th in terms of potential and rated the team’s recent draft performance as dead last in the league.

All-Time Series: Neither the Predators nor the Wild have managed to get a foothold in the series. The Predators’ all-time record against the Wild stands at 14-13-5-3.

Quest to 50: Martin Erat picked up his 9th point in the last 10 games on Tuesday night, giving him a team-leading 44 on the season. Should Erat average 1 point in every other game for the remainder of the season, the Predators will have a 50-point scorer.

Healthy Sully: On Tuesday, Steve Sullivan played in his 70th game of the season for the first time as a Nashville Predator. Sullivan, who missed two full seasons before his return last year, has played in every single game this season. In his 15-year career, Sullivan has only had a single 82-game season. Considering that many never expected him to play again and that he had only played in 167 of 328 possible games since the lockout, Sully’s health this season is all the more remarkable.

Where’s Cal? Cal O’Reilly scored 5 points in the 5 games before the Olympic break. While he played the 3 games immediately following the break, he did not register a point in a single one of them and has been scratched in favor of Dustin Boyd in the 6 games since. Regardless, Cal still has 5 points in his last 8 games. Boyd has 0 points in his time as a Predator and has not registered a point in the NHL since January. While one may argue that Boyd’s faceoff percentage has been impressive, the Predators have only managed a single goal with him on the ice.

Legwand Watch: David Legwand has not scored a goal in 28 games. (Or 74+ days, according to the section303.com Legwand-O-Meter)

Quick Notes: After going half a season without dropping the gloves, Jordin Tootoo’s tilt with Ian Laperriere marked his second fighting major in as many games…Jason Arnott is on a 3 game scoring streak…Marcel Goc surpassed his career scoring high on Sunday against the Kings, picking up his 23rd point. He picked up another assist on Tuesday night against the Flyers…After losing 4 of their first 5 games coming off the break, the Wild have won 3 in a row…Highly-touted college free agent Casey Wellman should be making his debut on Thursday with the Wild…Be sure to tweet along with us during the game at @PredFans (I’m @smashville).