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WATCH LIVE: Wild visit Predators on NBCSN

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.

This is the second half of a home-and-home series after the Predators defeated the Wild 3-2 in a shootout on Sunday in Minnesota. This is the third of four regular season meetings this season after Nashville won the first two. They will meet a final time on March 25 in Minnesota.

It was a momentous win for the Predators, who had lost three of their previous four games in regulation, all of them to Central Division opponents. The Predators are just one point behind the Jets for first in the Central, but Winnipeg has three games in hand.

After the loss on Sunday, Minnesota still has a six-game point streak (5-0-1) and occupies the second Wild Card spot in the West. Still, they do not have much breathing room with Arizona (two points back) and Colorado (three points back) nipping at their heels.

The Wild are tied with the Ducks for the second longest active playoff streak in the league. Right now, it is highly unlikely Anaheim makes the postseason and Pittsburgh’s playoff hopes, the only team ahead of them, are still in doubt in the East.

[WATCH LIVE – COVERAGE BEGINS AT 7 P.M. ET – NBCSN]

What: Minnesota Wild at Nashville Predators
Where: Bridgestone Arena
When: Tuesday, March 5, 7 p.m. ET
TV: NBCSN
Live stream: You can watch the Wild-Predators stream on NBC Sports’ live stream page and the NBC Sports app.

PROJECTED LINEUPS

PREDATORS
Filip ForsbergRyan JohansenViktor Arvidsson
Mikael GranlundKyle TurrisCraig Smith
Rocco GrimaldiNick BoninoWayne Simmonds
Frederick Gaudreau / Brian BoyleColton SissonsCalle Jarnkrok

Roman JosiRyan Ellis
Mattias EkholmP.K. Subban
Matt Donovan – Matt Irwin

Starting goalie: Pekka Rinne

WILD
Jordan GreenwayEric StaalJason Zucker
Zach PariseLuke KuninKevin Fiala
Ryan Donato – Joel Eriksson EkPontus Aberg
Marcus FolignoEric Fehr – J.T. Brown

Ryan SuterJared Spurgeon
Jonas BrodinBrad Hunt
Nick SeelerAnthony Bitetto

Starting goalie: Devan Dubnyk

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.

* * *

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.

Zach Parise is having a sneaky-good season for Wild

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.

If you ask a random hockey fan how they feel about Zach Parise, you might hear terms like “washed up” in response. That’s not really fair to the Minnesota Wild winger who’s proving he has quite a bit left in the tank, but it’s understandable why some might make such assumptions.

[Preview for Wild – Predators]

For one thing, Parise has a scary contract. There’s no denying that it’s frightening to imagine how poorly this can go for a 34-year-old carrying a $7.538 million cap hit through 2024-25.

It doesn’t help matters that injuries have been an issue for Parise, too. He was limited to just 42 games in 2017-18 after back surgery, and missed at least eight games each season since 2013-14.

Parise’s likely being dismissed thanks to a combination of those injuries, that contract, and the Wild being unable to get over the hump from good to great. Yet, it turns out, Parise’s actually been looking a lot more like the player who once made a 13-year contract sounded like a pretty smart idea.

So far in 2018-19, Parise’s appeared in 64 games, missing only two of the Wild’s contests.

[WATCH LIVE – COVERAGE BEGINS AT 7 P.M. ET – NBCSN]

He’s not just showing up, either. Parise’s generated 24 goals and 54 points this season. That .84 point-per-game clip actually matches his average from one of his later Devils seasons (2011-12), and ties his best marks so far with the Wild (interestingly, he hit .84 points per game in 2013-14 and 2014-15, too).

The veteran forward leads the Wild in goals and points, while checking out in the sort of analytics-friendly ways that become tougher and tougher to dominate as players grow older. Consider, for instance, his high placement according to Evolving Hockey’s Goals Above Replacement, arranged in this chart by The Athletic’s Sean Tierney:

Players like Joe Thornton and Jaromir Jagr have really set a high bar for ageless hockey, but this remains pretty remarkable work by Parise. After seeing his ice time sink a bit during the previous two seasons, he’s averaging 18:42 TOI per game, not far from his Minnesota average of 19 minutes (with some shorthanded time included).

As you can see from Tuesday’s Playoff Push, the Wild would hold a spot in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs if they began today, but the margin of error is excruciatingly small.

The Wild have needed every bit of effort from veterans such as Parise and his pal Ryan Suter, particularly after Minnesota decided to roll with a not-quite-rebuild by moving out more proven scorers for younger players.

Parise’s effectiveness isn’t as in-your-face as it once was when he was mercilessly forechecking opponents during his Devils’ peak, but his resurgence has been inspiring nonetheless. The Predators and other opponents would be wise not to count Parise out just yet.

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.

* * *

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.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

WATCH LIVE: Predators visit Wild on NBCSN

NBCSN’s coverage of the 2018-19 NHL season continues with Sunday’s matchup between the Nashville Predators and Minnesota Wild. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.

Nashville has lost two straight in regulation after dropping a 5-3 affair at Winnipeg on Friday. The Preds come in having lost three of their last four (1-3-0) but very much look headed towards their fifth straight playoff appearance. They are currently one point back of the Jets for first in the Central Division as Nashville could win consecutive division titles for the first time in franchise history – a year after winning its first division crown and the club’s first Presidents’ Trophy.

The Preds rank fifth in the league in goals against/game (2.64) and have the second-most points by defenseman (172) this season, behind San Jose. Roman Josi leads this charge with 51 points (second on team), followed by Matthias Ekholm (42 – third on team).

The Wild will return home to play the Preds and then head back out for a three-game road trip (Nashville, Tampa, Florida). Minnesota beat the Blues in its most recent home game snapping a six-game home losing streak. The Wild have not won two straight home games since Dec. 11 and 13.

It’s been the youngsters coming through for the Wild recently. Newly acquired Ryan Donato (age 22) scored a goal last night against Calgary. Donato has recorded a point in each of his first five games with the Wild (2G-5A). Only one player in franchise history has posted a longer such streak: Pavol Demitra (six GP in 2006-07). Donato had just nine points (6G-3A) in 34 games with Boston this season.

[WATCH LIVE – COVERAGE BEGINS AT 6:30 P.M. ET – NBCSN]

What: Nashville Predators at Minnesota Wild
Where: Xcel Energy Center
When: Sunday, March 3, 6:30 p.m. ET
TV: NBCSN
Live stream: You can watch the Predators-Wild stream on NBC Sports’ live stream page and the NBC Sports app.

PROJECTED LINEUPS

PREDATORS
Filip ForsbergRyan JohansenViktor Arvidsson
Mikael GranlundKyle TurrisCalle Jarnkrok
Brian BoyleNick BoninoColton Sissons
Rocco GrimaldiFrederick GaudreauWayne Simmonds

Roman Josi – Ryan Ellis
Mattias EkholmP.K. Subban
Matt IrwinYannick Weber

Starting goalie: Pekka Rinne

WILD
Jason ZuckerEric StaalJordan Greenway
Kevin FialaLuke KuninZach Parise
Ryan Donato – Joel Eriksson EkPontus Aberg
Marcus FolignoEric Fehr – J.T. Brown

Ryan SuterJared Spurgeon
Jonas BrodinNick Seeler
Anthony BitettoBrad Hunt

Starting goalie: Alex Stalock

John Forslund (play-by-play) and Brian Boucher (‘Inside-the-Glass’ analyst) will have the call from Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn. Pre-game coverage starts at 6:30 p.m. ET with NHL Live, hosted by Kathryn Tappen alongside Patrick Sharp and Keith Jones.

NHL on NBCSN: Wild look to strengthen hold on wild card spot vs. Predators

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NBCSN’s coverage of the 2018-19 NHL season continues with the Sunday night’s matchup between the Nashville Predators and Minnesota Wild. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.

These two teams — the Minnesota Wild and the Nashville Predators — will face each other twice in the next three days with various implications at stake beginning on NBCSN on Sunday night.

The Wild are one of the NHL’s hottest teams at the moment, coming into the game riding a five-game winning streak after a 4-2 win against the Calgary Flames on Saturday. The streak is a season-high and comes at a time when the Wild are fully entrenched in a four-way battle for one of two wildcard spots in the Western Conference. The Wild sit in the second wildcard spot, one point ahead of the Arizona Coyotes and four points behind the third-place St. Louis Blues in the Central.

Devan Dubnyk‘s resurgence has been a big part of Minnesota’s success. He continued to roll last night against the high-powered Flames, stopping 35 of 37 shots to earn his fifth straight win. During the winning streak, Dubnyk has a 1.59 goals-against average and .950 save percentage.

Boudreau was noncommittal on who would start Sunday against the Predators.

“We really want to get Alex (Stalock) into a game, but Dubnyk is on such a roll, it’s pretty hard,” Boudreau said. “But at the same time, not too many goalies play doubleheaders in the NHL these days.”

[WATCH LIVE – COVERAGE BEGINS AT 6:30 P.M. ET – NBCSN]

Nashville, meanwhile, will be looking to regain first place in the Central with a win (and a corresponding loss by the Winnipeg Jets against the Columbus Blue Jackets).

The Predators lost 5-3 to Winnipeg on Friday after beginning the game with a 2-0 lead, and have lost two straight now and three of their past four.

The Preds could use some help in the goal department. Viktor Arvidsson has been money with 27 goals in just 43 games this season after missing two months with a busted thumb. The usual suspects haven’t been contributing in the same realm.

Filip Forsberg, the focus of Star Sunday for Nashville, has seven goals in 24 games since returning from an upper-body injury that forced him to miss the month of December. Ryan Johansen has just 11 goals in 65 games but leads the Preds with 43 assists and 54 points.

“Filip is one of the more important players,” Pekka Rinne said earlier this season. “Everybody knows that. He’s a guy who can change a game… When you’re a big-time player, nobody expects more than (you do) from yourself. I know Fil does that. He’s a game breaker.”

Ryan Suter will be the Wild’s featured player on Star Sunday.

Suter has 42 points in 65 games and has averaged 26:47 of ice time, second only to Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings.

John Forslund (play-by-play) and Brian Boucher (‘Inside-the-Glass’ analyst) will have the call from Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn. Pre-game coverage starts at 6:30 p.m. ET with NHL Live, hosted by Kathryn Tappen alongside Patrick Sharp and Keith Jones.


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

NHL on NBCSN: Wild flirting with playoffs, but big picture should be GM’s focus

NBCSN’s coverage of the 2018-19 NHL season continues with Sunday night’s matchup between the St. Louis Blues and Minnesota Wild. Coverage begins at 6 p.m. ET on NBCSN. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.

While Bruce Boudreau is still believing he can guide his Wild team into the Stanley Cup Playoffs, his boss is focusing on reshaping a roster that he inherited that’s been quite inconsistent with results.

As NHL trade deadline approaches, Paul Fenton is in listening mode, having already moved Charlie Coyle, which brought in Ryan Donato from the Boston Bruins. There’s still more he can do before 3 p.m. ET Monday. Eric Staal, who owns a modified no-trade clause, is on an expiring deal, as is defenseman Brad Hunt, who was acquired in January from the Vegas Golden Knights. Beyond those two pending unrestricted free agents, there could be value in moving a Mikael Granlund or Jonas Brodin (both signed through next season) or a Jared Spurgeon (tied up until 2020), but are those pieces the GM wants to build around or use to bring back future assets?

[WATCH LIVE – COVERAGE BEGINS AT 6 P.M. ET – NBCSN]

Following two straight wins heading into Sunday’s meeting with the Blues, the Wild are a point out of a Western Conference wild card spot and seven points behind St. Louis in the Central Division. Fenton has said he’s been waiting for his players to dictate what he’s going to do before Monday afternoon.

The handcuff on a major clean out is, of course, the contracts of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. Both are signed through the 2024-25 season and eat up nearly $16M in cap space a season, which hampers things even with a cap ceiling that has been rising every year. The current roster hasn’t cut it, so changes will have to be made.

There is certainly opportunity in the wide open bottom portion of the West. But as a new GM, Fenton has to think of the long-term picture of his team. This is also a roster that will be without Mikko Koivu and Matt Dumba for the rest of the season. A reset is needed, and even the owner is behind whatever moves are necessary, even if it costs them a playoff spot.

Chris Cuthbert (play-by-play) and Brian Boucher (‘Inside-the-Glass’) will have the call from Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn. Pre-game coverage starts at 6 p.m. ET with NHL Live, hosted by Kathryn Tappen with Keith Jones and Anson Carter.