NBCSN’s coverage of the 2018-19 NHL season continues with the Tuesday night’s matchup between the Minnesota Wild and Nashville Predators. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.
Life has been far from easy for the Nashville Predators this season.
They aren’t running away with the Presidents’ Trophy or leading the Central Division by a wide margin. Heck, they aren’t even leading the Central.
Stringing together multiple wins hasn’t been their forte, and they’ve just emerged from the throes of a stretch where they lost three of four after taking down the Minnesota Wild 3-2 in a shootout on Sunday — a game where they trailed 2-1 with fewer than five minutes remaining.
The second half of a home-and-home series is another chance for the Predators to mount a charge. They’re one point back of the Winnipeg Jets (also in action on Tuesday) for first place but have three fewer games to work with heading down the stretch.
“We’ve really been trying to find our game,” said Predators forward Ryan Johansen, who scored the winner in the shootout on Sunday. “(We’ve) faced a lot of adversity lately and (have been) trying to find our team game and get on a roll, and [this is] a step in the right direction. Some more adversity today on the road and just finding a way to win. We’re going to build off that and keep moving forward… All I can say is Nashville’s put their band together, and we’re ready to play.”
The Wild appear to be making good on a promise head coach Bruce Boudreau made while the club was slipping recently.
Boudreau guaranteed the Wild would make the playoffs during a five-game losing streak that preceded their current stretch of points in six straight games (5-0-1).
The Wild own the second wildcard spot in the Western Conference, a spot they’ve occupied for some time now (though they did lose it for a moment of the weekend to the Arizona Coyotes).
Those Coyotes are two points back of the Wild, with the Colorado Avalanche three points adrift. The Wild are by no means out of the woods at this points, but there’s optimism.
“[This team has] got a lot of heart. They want to win. They don’t want to be thought of as the team that didn’t make it. They are giving it everything that they have.”
Given that the Wild didn’t get home until after 5 a.m. on Sunday after snapping the Calgary Flames seven-game winning streak, there’s merit Boudreau’s comments and the fact they still managed a point just hours later.
“I thought our effort was great. With kind of the adversity we faced the last day here, I thought our effort was great and I thought Al (Stalock) played solid and it was a good night.”
Stalock made 41 saves in the shootout loss but it appears that Devan Dubnyk, who has been lights out as of late, will carry the torch coming up. Dubnyk has won each of his past five starts behind a 1.59 goals-against average and .950 save percentage.
2017 NTT IndyCar Series champion and Nashville Predators fan Josef Newgarden will be an ‘Inside-the-Glass’ guest tonight during the first period of Wild-Predators. He will join Pierre McGuire and John Walton (play-by-play), who will have the call from Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. ET with NHL Live, hosted by Kathryn Tappen alongside Keith Jones and Jeremy Roenick.
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NBC Sports will take fans inside the sounds and passion of hockey with a one-hour special – “Wired: Stadium Series – Penguins vs. Flyers” – that will utilize audio from players, coaches and referees from the 2019 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers on NBC. It airs March 5 at 11 p.m. ET on NBCSN here.