Wild-Predators Preview

The Associated Press

The Minnesota Wild's latest winning streak came up one shy of a season high.

Now the Wild head to Nashville on Sunday night looking to start another as they face the slumping Predators.

The Wild (24-19-5) had won four in a row before Saturday's 4-2 home loss to Colorado. Dany Heatley assisted on a pair of goals Charlie Coyle scored 40 seconds apart to tie it 2-all in the second period, but the Avalanche scored twice on six third-period shots to reacquaint their Central Division foes with the loss column.

"It's not like we played terrible that game," Coyle said. "We can learn from stuff, carry it over to tomorrow night and go from there."

It was Coyle's second career multipoint game and Heatley's first in 24 contests, all of it coming in one shift.

"Certainly, that was a great shift," said Wild coach Mike Yeo, who is looking for others to step up with top forwards Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu sidelined. "We need guys to step up. It's got to be different guys every night. Despite that we have guys out, we have guys that are capable."

After reestablishing himself by winning three straight starts with a 1.67 goals-against average, Niklas Backstrom allowed three goals on 17 shots.

"We weren't giving up much," Yeo told the team's official website. "Maybe we could have done a few more things to create here and there, but we had the puck a majority of the time. It's frustrating, not to get at least a point there for sure."

Backstrom, shouldering the load while Josh Harding remains on injured reserve with an illness, is 2-0-0 with a 1.71 GAA in his last three starts against the Predators.

A win would have brought Minnesota within four points of Colorado. Instead, it fell eight back.

Farther down in the Central standings, Nashville (19-20-8) has one win in its last six games after Saturday's 2-1 home shootout loss to Ottawa.

"We've had some difficult stretches where we absolutely deserved to get two points and haven't been able to do it, but we come out and play hard every night," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "That's something everyone in that room can hang their hat on."

Mike Fisher, now with 11 points in his last eight games, scored a third-period goal to help ensure the Predators a point in the standings. In order to gain footing in the Central, though, they're going to need considerably more than their 1-1-1 record on the current five-game homestand.

"We've got to let this one go in about an hour from now," Trotz told the team's official website. "We've got the Minnesota Wild (on Sunday) and that might be an even bigger two points and we need to go after that and get the Wild. There's no looking back. We've just got to look forward. It's a good point and they're a good team."

The Wild have won three of four against the Predators, splitting two games this season with the home team winning each.

Wild defenseman Ryan Suter has four assists in his last four games against his former team. This will be his third trip back to Nashville after spending the first seven years of his career there.

What to Read Next