Again, the out-of-town scores went the Wild’s way Monday night while the team was idle.
But even if the team wins Tuesday against the Predators at Xcel Energy Center, it’ll need some more help to reach a playoff position.
The Wild trails the Predators by just one point for the second wild card seed. But Winnipeg is tied with Nashville at 72 points and is also in action Tuesday, taking on Buffalo. A loss by the Jets in any manner combined with a Wild win would move the team into a playoff spot.
“These games are a ton of fun,” goalie Alex Stalock said. “To leapfrog a team and put yourself in contention is a great opportunity, and I know the guys in here are looking forward to it.”
This is the second half of a back-to-back for the Predators, who were thumped 8-3 at home Monday by the Oilers. But Nashville has had the upper hand in its season series vs. the Wild, winning both games and outscoring the Wild 9-2.
“Everybody knows the table is set out there for where we're at in the standings and where they are,” Stalock said. “Obviously what happened in their building last night, they're not going to be too happy. So, it's going to be a fun game tonight.”
For a fifth straight time, the Wild will call upon Stalock in net. He’s 7-2-1 in his last 10 starts with a 1.99 goals-against average, .925 save percentage and two shutouts.
Forward Luke Kunin will also be back in action after missing the last five games with an upper-body injury.
“Watching is never fun,” Kunin said. “It's been good to get back. The guys have been playing really well, and I'm just happy to be back in the lineup.”
Jordan Greenway-Eric Staal-Kevin Fiala
Zach Parise-Joel Eriksson Ek-Luke Kunin
Marcus Foligno-Alex Galchenyuk-Mats Zuccarello
Ryan Donato-Mikko Koivu-Ryan Hartman
Ryan Suter-Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin-Matt Dumba
Brad Hunt-Greg Pateryn
8-5-2: Record for the Wild vs. Predators in their last 15 matchups at Xcel Energy Center.
5-2: Run for the Wild vs. the Central Division.
30: Goals for the Wild over its last seven games.
9: Points for winger Kevin Fiala during a four-game point streak.
197: Career assists for defenseman Jared Spurgeon.
About the Predators:
Nashville’s loss to Edmonton Monday was the team’s second straight setback. Before that, the Predators had won three in a row and six out of seven. Goalie Juuse Saros is expected to get the start. He’s 3-0 in his career against the Wild, recording a 0.65 goals-against average and .976 save percentage with two shutouts. Center Ryan Johansen has 20 points in 28 career games vs. the Wild.