Author: James O'Brien

Nino Niederreiter, Charlie Coyle,Jared Spurgeon,Ryan Carter, Marco Scandella

Wild get important win vs. Preds (and some luck, too)


During some of the tougher spots of the Minnesota Wild’s season, it seemed like they couldn’t buy much puck luck. Maybe that’s what made Nino Niederreiter’s insurance goal in a 4-2 win against the Nashville Predators a little extra special.

Niederreiter grabbed the puck deep in his zone, turned and sent a no-look shot down the ice that ended up hitting the Predators’ empty net. It was his second goal of the night, giving him 21 on the season.

There’s no denying the notion that this game meant more to Minnesota than Nashville, yet it’s worth noting that the Wild hung tough through this one. They’ve now won four of five games and remain red-hot with Devan Dubnyk in net. Since Jan. 27, they’re only lost three games and only failed to accrue at least one standings point in two contests.

Their upcoming schedule is a little road-heavy, yet it also features a chunk of teams currently seated outside the playoffs, so this was a nice win and could very well be another important confidence-booster.

The Predators remain comfortably ahead of the pack in the Central Division and the Western Conference in general, so the key for them may come down to avoiding getting too comfortable.

Minnesota’s looking strong right now, but they don’t have the margin of error to get fat and happy. That seems OK right now, as they presented themselves as a lean and mean opponent on national television.

Kings place Martinez on IR

Alec Martinez
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The Los Angeles Kings placed defenseman Alec Martinez on IR on Thursday. The move is retroactive to Feb. 9, as the Kings note.

One can assume that the transaction was made, in part, to make room for newly acquired blueliner Andrej Sekera. The Kings face the Ottawa Senators tonight, but Sekera hasn’t gotten into action just yet.

The fact that it’s a move retroactive to Feb. 9 means that the Kings have nice flexibility regarding when they can activate Martinez (whenever he’s good to go). When he gets back in the fold and Sekera becomes comfortable, the Kings has the potential to be that much more of a frightening playoff opponent.

Speaking of Sekera, it sounds like he could debut for Los Angeles on Friday:

Video: Predators, Wild exchange high-skill goals

Craig Smith, Mike Fisher

The Minnesota Wild and Nashville Predators can really clamp things down when they’re on task, yet the two teams are showing that they also boast the skill to score impressive goals.

Thursday featured a nice stretch of second-period tallies, as Craig Smith made his 20th goal one of those rare efforts:

While it wasn’t as exciting as Smith’s effort, Nino Niederreiter answered nicely, scoring his 20th as well in impressive fashion just a little more than a minute later:

The Wild carry a 3-2 lead into the third period. You can watch the game on NBCSN and also stream it via the link below: