Skip to content

NHL on NBCSN: Division rivals Wild, Preds seek early edge in playoff spot race

Oct 22, 2013, 8:43 AM EDT

NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 8: Mike Fisher #12 of the Nashville Predators faces off against Mikko Koivu #9 of the Minnesota Wild at Bridgestone Arena on October 8, 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images) Getty Images

NBCSN continues its coverage of the 2013-14 campaign tonight when the Minnesota Wild host the Nashville Predators at Xcel Energy Center at 8:00 p.m. ET. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game online.

It’s still October, but with the new four division system, it’s not hard to envision a scenario where the Nashville Predators and Minnesota Wild end up competing for the same playoff spot in the final weeks of the season. Should that come to pass, the two points they’re fighting for tonight might end up being a key difference.

Even if we ignore that though, this is an important contest for the Wild. They’re coming off of a rough road trip where they only picked up one point over three games.

Their offense has been anemic lately with them averaging just 2.11 goals per contest. Mikko Koivu and Zach Parise have left something to be desired, but most of their young forwards haven’t been living up to the team’s hopes either. To put it another way, it’s a troubling sign when enforcer Matt Cooke is tied for the team lead with six points in nine games.

Related: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $3,000 Fantasy Hockey league tonight (Tuesday). It’s just $10 to join and first prize is $600. Starts at 7pm ET. Here’s the link.

Not that the Nashville Predators have been any better when it comes to finding the back of the net. Nashville forward Patric Hornqvist is the only Predators player with more than two goals so far this season and he has scored just three times.

Minnesota and Nashville both have respectable records despite that, so there is an opportunity for the squads to have a strong campaigns if their offenses heat up. The Wild have enough significant scoring threats to make that possible and while the Predators don’t have a forward of Parise’s caliber, they might be able to surprise people with a balanced attack.

For now, the fact that Minnesota is returning the the Xcel Energy Center gives them an edge. They had a 14-8-2 record in Minnesota last season and have gotten at least a point in each of their first four games at home in 2013-14. By contrast, Nashville won just five road contests in the shortened campaign, although they have split their first four away matches this season.

Perhaps that will be enough for the Wild to snap their losing streak and get revenge after the Predators earned a 3-2 victory over them on Oct. 8.

Latest Posts
  1. Lucic jokes about running through Rask ‘like I did (to) another goalie’

    Aug 31, 2015, 10:22 PM EDT

    Milan Lucic AP

    His first game against Boston is scheduled for Feb. 9.

  2. Success for McDavid isn’t purely a numbers game

    Aug 31, 2015, 9:00 PM EDT

    Connor McDavid AP

    The start of his rookie campaign is approaching.

  3. Hitch finds silver lining in Berglund injury

    Aug 31, 2015, 7:30 PM EDT

    Patrik Berglund Getty Images

    Who will take advantage of the opening?

  4. Neuvirth cites Voracek as his reason for joining Flyers

    Aug 31, 2015, 6:00 PM EDT

    New York Islanders v Washington Capitals - Game Five Getty Images

    The two have previously played together on the Czech national team.

  5. Hurricanes add Ray Whitney, three others to scouting staff

    Aug 31, 2015, 4:30 PM EDT

    Jeff Daniels Getty Images

    Former coach Jeff Daniels is also staying within the organization after being relieved of his AHL coaching duties.

  6. Poll: Will Seabrook re-sign?

    Aug 31, 2015, 2:12 PM EDT

    Brent Seabrook Getty Images

    You can expect this question to be asked throughout the year.

  7. Under Pressure: Stan Bowman

    Aug 31, 2015, 1:00 PM EDT

    Stan Bowman AP

    Heck, the ‘Hawks are still over the salary cap ceiling.

  8. Hawks’ biggest question: What happens with Patrick Kane?

    Aug 31, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT

    Patrick Kane Getty Images

    Chicago’s star forward remains under police investigation.

  9. Looking to make the leap: Artemi Panarin

    Aug 31, 2015, 11:00 AM EDT

    Artemi Panarin AP

    Can his KHL success translate to North America?

  10. Blackhawks ’15-16 Outlook

    Aug 31, 2015, 10:04 AM EDT

    Jonathan Toews Getty Images

    Plenty of changes in the Windy City.

  11. It’s Chicago Blackhawks day at PHT

    Aug 31, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT

    2015 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Six 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Six

    The defending Stanley Cup champs dealt away key pieces in the offseason.

  12. Cooke: ‘I have fire in my belly, I still feel I can play’

    Aug 30, 2015, 9:00 PM EDT

    Matt Cooke Matt Cooke

    The 36-year-old is still looking for a contract after being bought out by the Wild.

  13. Poll: Will Minnesota’s power play improve this season?

    Aug 30, 2015, 7:00 PM EDT

    The Wild ranked 27th overall last season with the man advantage.

  14. Wild’s biggest question: Who will step up at center?

    Aug 30, 2015, 5:00 PM EDT

    Mikael Granlund Mikael Granlund

    Granlund scored just eight goals last season while playing between Pominville and Parise.

  15. Looking to make the leap: Mike Reilly

    Aug 30, 2015, 3:00 PM EDT

    2015 NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Championship - Northeast Regional 2015 NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Championship - Northeast Regional

    He’s hoping to crack the Wild’s opening night roster after three seasons at the University of Minnesota.

  16. Under Pressure: Devan Dubnyk

    Aug 30, 2015, 1:30 PM EDT

    150831-Devan-Dubnyk Getty Images

    He’ll have to prove last season was not a fluke.

  17. Report: Ballard, Leopold leaning towards retirement

    Aug 30, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT

    Keith Ballard Keith Ballard

    Both blue liners are unrestricted free agents.

  18. Wild ’15-16 Outlook

    Aug 30, 2015, 10:30 AM EDT

    Zach Parise Getty Images

    Can they take a step forward this season?

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. P. Kessel (1753)
  2. P. Kane (1372)
  3. M. Richards (1256)
  4. P. Datsyuk (1243)
  5. N. Backstrom (1104)