Nashville Predators (17-13-6) return to the ice today against the Minnesota Wild (17-14-5) at the Xcel Energy Center at a special 5 p.m. Central New Year’s Eve start time.
This is the second meeting of the year between the two teams. They first met in Minnesota on black Friday when the Predators played a miserable game, losing 5-2.
That game was the final game in a four game losing streak. The next night, the Preds picked up a point against the Rangers in Nashville and then proceeded to tie a franchise record by having a ten game point streak, going 8-0-2.
Since that streak, the Predators have gone 0-5 and are desperately in need of a victory tonight as they have fallen out of the top eight in the Western Conference. They have played well defensively at times during the losing streak but have scored only five goals.
Marty Erat, Steve Sullivan, Jordin Tootoo, and Matthew Lombardi continue to be unavailable for the game tonight. David Legwand is possible but will probably be a game time decision.
Tonight’s game will mark the Predator debut of Marek Svatos who was claimed on waivers on Wednesday. Svatos has played 19 games with Avangard Omsk in the KHL scoring three goals and picking up five assists. He was released by mutual agreement on December 23.
Pekka Rinne (8-10-4, 2.37, .918) is expected to be in net for the Predators while Nicklas Backstrom (13-9-3, 2.60, .911) is probable for the Wild.
The Predators will return home after the game to prepare to play the Columbus Blue Jackets Sunday at the Bridgestone Arena at a special 5 p.m. start time.
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,
In Pred Nation...
Jim Diamond reports on the special service that Marek Svatos received when he got picked up at the airport at midnight on Wednesday.
Josh Cooper has a good piece on Linus Klasen.
Chris Burton has the top ten Predator moments for 2010. I like them but would move the Cogen-Henry signing to close to the top of the list.
The Predators announced the GnashVegas Casino Gala and Auction which is set for February 10th. Sign up now!
Mark Willoughby has his weekly View at The View From 111.
Brian Metzer guests at RLD Hockey to explain Pittsburgh's perfect fit.
Switzerland 6, Slovakia 4
Sweden 6, Czech Republic 3
Team USA 4, Germany 0
Russia 8, Norway 2
Finland - Slovakia 11:30
Canada - Sweden 3:00
Russia - Czech Republic 6:00
Team USA - Switzerland 7:00
Around the NHL...
From Phoenix, the NHL will not invoke the potential of relocation of the Coyotes, even though today is the "deadline."
From @reporterchris: Sidney Crosby named The Canadian Press male athlete of the year for the third time.
Ryan Porth has the top five plays of 2010.
Kevin Burgandy looks back at 2010 and the influence of bloggers on the overall hockey conversation in the media.
All Habs has the 12 days of Christmas, Montreal style.
Puck Daddy has the 10 greatest goals of 2010.
Odds and Ends...
Here are the top seven space stories of the year. Are we not alone?
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass