The Nashville Predators (22-13-6) return to the Bridgestone Arena for a one game home stand against the Minnesota Wild (21-16-5) tonight at 7 p.m.
The Predators are riding a five game winning streak that started with a 4-1 win over the Wild in Minnesota on New Year's Eve. They also met in Minnesota on Black Friday which resulted in a really ugly 5-2 Predator loss.
The Wild had won four in a row after the last game with the Preds until they were stifled by Dallas in a 4-0 loss at home on Sunday night. They are 8-3-1 in their last 12 games. The Wild have played better on the road (11-6-3) while being average at home (10-10-2).
Sergei Kostitsyn has scored in a surprising five straight games and could tie the Preds record of six with a goal tonight.
Pekka Rinne (12-10-4, 2.16, .926), who has played the best hockey of the year since his return from injury, will be in net for the Predators. Jose Theodore (8-6-2, 2.56, .917) has become the regular in the Minnesota net since Niklas Backstrom (13-10-3, 2.58, .919) has been hobbled.
There was speculation that Steve Sullivan and/or Marty Erat would return from injuries but they did not practice with the team yesterday so they will not play tonight. Nick Spaling who missed the last game and a half and Marek Svatos who went down in Sunday's game should be able to play this evening since they practiced on Monday.
After tonight's game, The Preds will travel to Florida for a Thursday game with the Panthers before returning home for January's final home game against the Blackhawks on Saturday.
The Predators will then play six games on a Western Conference swing prior to the All-Star Break. The Preds will have 21 of their final 32 games at the Bridgestone Arena.
Other game previews come from Amanda DiPaolo, Chris Burton, the Tennessean, and Predators.com.
Previews from the Wild come from the Minnesota Star Tribune and Hockey Wilderness.
I will be the guest host on Ryan Porth's RLD Hockey Radio today at Noon Central. Ryan's guest include Russ Cohen from Sportsology and XM Radio, Joe Yerdon from ProHockeyTalk, and Yahoo Sports' Nick Cotsonika.
In Pred Nation...
James Mirtle has a post about tall goalies with extensive discussion with Mitch Korn.
Dirk Hoag continues his mid-season report card with a look at the defense.
Bryan Mullen discusses the Preds defense and how they have lead the team to their lofty fourth spot in the West.
Josh Cooper looks at the Preds with All-Star potential. In my book, Weber is a done deal and Lindback is likely as one of the rookies for the skills competition. It is too bad that Suter will not get to go.
David Boclair is getting dizzy from watching the Western Conference standings.
Just as players from Milwaukee are filling in for the Predators, players from Cincinnati are filling holes in Milwaukee.
NHLAccordingtoJosh takes a look at the strong record of the Predators at the entry draft.
Paul McCann starts the week with a look at a variety of topics both in and out of Pred Nation.
Jas Faulkner has her weekly Greetings from Nashville at The Hockey Writers.
Patten Fuqua is warming up for his trip to the AHL All-Star game with his weekly Milwaukee Monday which has news of a hot streak for the Ads. He also has a Cincinnati Cyclone round-up.
Bridgestone Arena is now sixth in the US and 17th in the world for concert attendance.
Ex-Pred Mark Eaton is out for the season after hip surgery.
Around the NHL...
Look for the announcement of the remaining 36 All-Stars and 12 rookies today from the NHL. No time was given for the announcement so we will have to wait and see.
Rob Rossi looks at the Penguins after last night's collapse against Boston and has some interesting observations.
A trade between the Rangers and Coyotes took place yesterday where Michal Roszival went west and Wojtek Wolski went to the big apple. Wolski was brought in to replace Alex Frolov who is lost for the season. Adrian Dater has an interesting prediction about the trade.
The NHL three stars of the week were announced and Sergei Kostitsyn did not make it in spite of a three goal three assist in three game week. The winners were NHL 1 - Daniel Sedin, 2- Jonas Hiller, and 3- Jose Theodore.
Helene Elliott thinks that Gary Bettman doesn't get it in regards to the new labor contract.
Chris Botta hands out his mid-season awards at Fan House. They seem about right.
Nick Cotsonika has another longer list of mid-season awards.
Ryan Porth has his latest weekly power rankings.
Russ spoke with Kimmo Timonen, Danny Briere, and Peter Laviolette yesterday about the All-Star game and got some interesting answers.
Coach K at All Habs has an informative piece on the importance of controlling the neutral zone and how it led to the Canadian Junior team's downfall against the Russians.
Sad news from Detroit that Chris Osgood will have sports hernia surgery and be out for 6-8 weeks.
Central Scouting's mid-term rankings are out for players eligible for this June's Entry Draft in Minnesota.
The AHL will also be announcing their All-Star rosters today at 2 p.m. Central at the AHL site and on Facebook.
Odds and Ends...
Season Tickets are on sale for the Nashville RollerGirls. Six doubleheaders and a preseason bout are only $65.
Facebook is unpopular in Japan because it doesn't let users mask their identities.
After an awful experience with US Air going to the Winter Classic, my faith in Southwest Airline has been restored with this story about how they care about their customers. This is why I only try to fly Southwest.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass