Something about the month of November seems to bring out the best in the Nashville Predators.
Nashville looks to improve to 8-1-2 this month when it hosts the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night.
It was the Predators’ 10-2-1 November last season that established Nashville as one of the league’s elite teams on its way to a 51-23-8 record and the second-most points in the Western Conference.
The Predators (11-8-2) stumbled through the opening month of this season, starting 4-7-0, but they’ve since lost only once in regulation, 2-1 at St. Louis on Monday.
Nashville rebounded on Thursday with a 3-2 win over Detroit, the team that finished above them in both the Central Division and the conference in 2006-07. The Predators had gone 0-3-2 against the Red Wings in their past five matchups.
“The key to beating Detroit is having the right mentality,” Predators coach Barry Trotz said. “They are so skilled. They move the puck so effectively and efficiently from the back and through the neutral zone.”
Nashville must have been questioning its mentality after the first 12 minutes, during which it was outshot 12-1 and gave the Red Wings five power plays as Detroit took a 1-0 lead. But Jason Arnott scored 12:20 into the period to tie it and after the teams traded goals again in the second, Radek Bonk scored a power-play goal early in the third to put the Predators in front for good.
“Sometimes they go in for you and sometimes they don’t,” said Bonk, who leads Nashville with nine goals. “They are going in for me right now.”
Bonk’s power-play goal was a rarity for Nashville. The Predators are converting just 13.1 percent of their chances with the man advantage, one of the worst marks in the league.
Minnesota (11-9-2) began the season on a tear, starting 7-0-1, but has gone just 4-9-1 since Oct. 21. The Wild have lost five of their last seven, including a 4-0 defeat at home to Columbus on Friday.
The Wild’s power play, which had converted 20.4 percent of its chances to make it one of the top 10 units in the league coming in, went 0-for-9 against the Blue Jackets.
“We just couldn’t connect. Whether it was one of those days or whatnot, we couldn’t make two, three passes in a row,” said Wild winger Mark Parrish, tied for the team lead with seven goals. “We couldn’t make one pass. Bouncing over our sticks, not getting to the puck, not winning the battles to the puck, not getting pucks to the net. The list could go on and on. Frustrating. Very frustrating.”
Minnesota claimed winger Todd Fedoruk off re-entry waivers from Dallas and placed center Mikko Koivu (leg) and defenseman Petteri Nummelin (nose and head) on injured reserve Thursday. The Wild also called up goalie Nolan Schaefer because backup Josh Harding suffered a head injury in Wednesday’s 4-2 loss to Vancouver.
Minnesota went 3-1-0 against the Predators last season, winning both games in Nashville.