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. Video: Lightning-Rangers game gets heated in final minutes

    May 22, 2015, 11:42 PM EDT

    Lightning-Rangers skirmish

    Kucherov, Paquette, and Glass all receive misconduct penalties.

  2. Comeback fit for a King: Lundqvist, Rangers even series in Game 4

    May 22, 2015, 11:10 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    The score was one-sided, but this game could have gone the other way if not for the Rangers’ netminder.

  3. Video: Slumping Nash charges hard to net, puts Rangers ahead

    May 22, 2015, 9:04 PM EDT

    Nash goal

    Will we see more goals like that from him before the playoffs are over?

  4. Yzerman, Sather, Murray finalists for GM of the Year

    May 22, 2015, 8:08 PM EDT

    Steve Yzerman AP

    All three of their teams are still in the running for the Stanley Cup.

  5. Lowry emerging as darkhorse candidate for Sharks gig

    May 22, 2015, 7:35 PM EDT

    Dave Lowry Getty Images

    San Jose has been linked to several high profile coaches.

  6. Detroit assistant Hiller to join Babcock in Toronto

    May 22, 2015, 6:31 PM EDT

    Detroit Red Wings v Arizona Coyotes Getty Images

    He was credited with turning around the Red Wings’ power play.

  7. WATCH LIVE: Rangers at Lightning, Game 4 of Eastern Conference Final

    May 22, 2015, 6:01 PM EDT

    Nikita Kucherov, Ryan McDonagh AP

    Will New York be able to contain Tampa Bay this time around?

  8. Blackhawks need more ‘quick plays’ to crack Anaheim’s structure

    May 22, 2015, 4:34 PM EDT

    Anaheim Ducks v Chicago Blackhawks - Game Three Getty Images

    Not only did the Ducks block 27 shots last night, they clogged up the neutral zone too.

  9. Benning trying to figure where Markstrom ‘fits in’

    May 22, 2015, 2:24 PM EDT

    Columbus Blue Jackets v Vancouver Canucks Getty Images

    Canucks GM witnessed the goalie get a shutout in the AHL playoffs.

  10. TVR won’t play Game 4, but he’s ‘cleared to participate’

    May 22, 2015, 1:41 PM EDT

    Trevor van Riemsdyk Getty Images

    Coach Q: “He’ll need a few days out here. We’ll get an evaluation and go from there.”

  11. ’16 Draft prospect Bellows, son of Brian, wins USHL Rookie of the Year

    May 22, 2015, 1:38 PM EDT

    Bellows

    Son of ex-NHLer Brian is off to Boston University next year.

  12. Video: Emotional Babcock says good-bye to Detroit

    May 22, 2015, 1:05 PM EDT

    Babcock

    “It’s been real special, to say the least.”

  13. Columbus goalie prospect Dansk bolts for Sweden

    May 22, 2015, 12:47 PM EDT

    Montreal Canadiens v Columbus Blue Jackets Montreal Canadiens v Columbus Blue Jackets

    The third ‘tender taken at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft had a rough first pro season in North America.

  14. Wild re-sign AHL Iowa assists leader Keranen

    May 22, 2015, 12:30 PM EDT

    Petteri Lindbohm, Michael Keranen Getty Images

    Finnish forward joined the organization last year after solid production in the SM-liiga.

Featured video

Babcock has his work cut out in Toronto
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. H. Lundqvist (1448)
  2. K. Versteeg (1371)
  3. S. Stamkos (1330)
  4. P. Kane (1308)
  5. C. Crawford (1269)