The Nashville Predators packed up and flew to Minnesota after last night's 6-2 debacle against the Oilers for a quick trip to play the Wild before returning home for turkey and dressing in Nashville on Thanksgiving Day.
As opposed to the Predators who are playing on back to back nights, the Wild should be well rested as they last played on Saturday when they beat St. Louis 3-2 in a shootout.
The game will be a gut check for the Predators who played their worst game of the season last night. Jerred Smithson pointed out that the team would have to regroup quickly, "We're going to have to or it's going to be another kicking. We're going to have to go back to the basics, and work hard. We can't have any more efforts like that."
This will be the first meeting of the year between the Predators and the Wild. Last season, the Predators lost an ugly game at the Xcel Center on Black Friday and then won the next three games against Minnesota. The Predators have had little success in Minnesota over the years going 6-9-5.
The task will be tougher this year than in the recent past. New head coach Mike Yeo has guided the Wild to the top of the Northwest Division with a 12-5-3 record. Minnesota is riding a four-game winning streak and have won nine of their last eleven games.
The new look Wild are led by Mikko Koivu (3g, 10a), Dany Heatley (5g, 7a), Matt Cullen (8g, 3a), and Devin Setoguchi (6g, 4a).
In goal they have had success with both Niklas Backstrom (7-4-2, 1.97, .935) and Josh Harding (5-1-1, 1.79,.945) who currently are in the lead for the Jennings Trophy.
It is unclear who will start in goal for the Predators tonight as Pekka Rinne (10-5-4) started last night against the Oilers but was replaced after giving up three goals in the opening period.
Barry Trotz indicated that the original intent was to split the starts between Rinne and Anders Lindback (0-1-0) but that he would reassess the situation later today.
The Predators will return to Nashville after the game and will have Thanksgiving Day off. They will practice in Nashville on Friday before traveling to Detroit to resume the last four games of the road trip against the Wings on Saturday night.
For more Predators previews check out Amanda DiPaolo, Dirk Hoag, Robby Stanley, Predatorial, The Tennessean, and Predators.com.
For previews from Minnesota, check out the Minnesota Star Tribune, Pioneer Press, View From the Lighthouse, and Hockey Wilderness.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOntheGlass