After getting blown out last Saturday night by a 6-2 score against the Minnesota Wild, in Nashville the Predators face the Wild again tonight at the Sommet Center in one of the weirder schedule oddities I have seen in the past few years. Last weeks game was marred by poor officiating and high emotions resulting in four fights.
After sitting out the three of the last four games, goalie Dan Ellis is returning for a bit of the hair of the dog against the Wild after surrendering six goals, five of which were on power plays last weekend versus the Wild. The Preds have won the last two games if front of Pekka Renne who threw a shutout on Monday at Buffalo and was solid in a 3-2 victory against Colorado on Thursday. No one is saying anything about a goaltender controversy at this point but a strong game will be needed by Ellis tonight to avoid further talk on the subject.
After losing last night to Vancouver at home 2-1 the Wild (15-9-1) fell out of first place in the Northwest and trail the Canucks by a point. Josh Harding (1-1) will be in net for the Wild as Niklas Backstrom played last night. The Predators (13-10-2) are tied for second in the Central with Chcago and are three games over .500 for the first time this year after winning 4 of their last 6 and getting a point in another game.
After last Saturday’s fiasco, I expect tonight’s game to be much calmer, with better officiating and a clearer focus by the Predators on getting back to the basics of playing hockey and not trying to replicate the Broad Street Bullies.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass