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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Minnessota Wild welcome the Predators for some Hockey Action

Wild welcome Preds to Minnesota

(Sports Network) - The Minnesota Wild will try for their first three-game winning streak of the season when they welcome the Nashville Predators for tonight's clash at Xcel Energy Center.

This marks the first of two games this week between the Wild and Predators as the clubs will also meet in Nashville this Saturday. It's not a home-and-home, however, as both teams will face different teams on Friday.

The Predators recorded a 4-3 regulation win in Minnesota when the teams faced off on October 28. The clubs have split the last six meetings and the Wild have come out on top in seven of the last 11 encounters. Minnesota also has three victories in the last five matchups in the Gopher State.

The Wild are coming off a home-and-home sweep of Colorado and will try to win three straight for the first time since ending the 2008-09 on three-game winning streak from April 7-11.

Minnesota earned a 5-3 home decision on Friday against the Avalanche and then posted a shootout victory the following night in Denver. Andrew Ebbett and Mikko Koivu each scored a goal in the shootout on Saturday to lift the Wild to the 3-2 decision at Pepsi Center.

Guillaume Latendresse scored his first goal in his second game with the Wild, who are 11-1-2 in their last 14 games against Colorado. Latendresse came over last week from Montreal in a trade for forward Benoit Pouliot.

Eric Belanger also scored, and Josh Harding made 20 stops to get his first win of the season in his fourth try. The Wild are expected to go back to regular starter Niklas Backstrom tonight.

The Wild could be without defensemen Kim Johnsson (flu) and Marek Zidlicky (lower body) and forward Antti Miettinen (flu) tonight. The trio are listed as questionable.

Minnesota, which is 7-3-1 as the host this year, is playing the first of two straight at home tonight. The Wild will also host Anaheim on Friday before beginning a five-game road trip with Saturday's test in Nashville.

The Predators, meanwhile, have dropped two of their last three games following a season-high, seven-game winning streak.

Nashville also ended a three-game homestand on a down note when it lost 5-0 to Calgary on Monday. Miikka Kiprusoff posted his third shutout of the season with 22 saves and Jarome Iginla led a group of five different goal-scorers for the Flames.

Ryan Suter had a team-high three shots for the Predators, while Pekka Rinne was beaten four times on 29 shots in defeat.

The Preds are starting a two-game road trip tonight and will also visit Chicago on Friday before kicking off a four-game homestand against the Wild. Nashville is 6-5-1 as the guest this year, but has won its last two games away from the Music City.


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