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Nashville
Predators
41-32-9
Minnesota
Wild
44-28-10

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Predators-Wild Preview

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 3:48 AM

Associated Press

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Predators-Wild Preview
Nashville Predators vs. Minnesota Wild

The Minnesota Wild are outstanding at securing wins when leading after two periods. The Nashville Predators, meanwhile, certainly haven't been backing down in the third.

After holding on to an early lead yet again, the Northwest Division-leading Wild conclude their regular-season series with the Predators on Sunday night.

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Minnesota (33-21-4) has a four-point lead over Calgary in the Northwest, partly because of its ability to keep teams from coming back. The Wild are 24-0-1 this season - and 50-1-1 the past two seasons - when leading after two periods.

On Thursday, Minnesota held on for a 5-4 shootout win over Vancouver after leading 2-1 through two periods. The Wild, however, trailed 3-2 after allowing goals 16 seconds apart early in the third.

"It's ... a good sign for us when you're down and come back," Minnesota center Mikko Koivu said after scoring the game-winner in the shootout. "It's not that easy and it's a good sign for this team."

Against Nashville (30-23-6) on Dec. 18, the Wild trailed 2-0 after two before winning 3-2. Minnesota is 2-1-0 versus the Predators this season, and is 7-3-0 with three ties at home against them all-time.

Nashville's last game, though, was dramatic. Defenseman Shea Weber scored 40 seconds into overtime on a 4-on-3 power play to give the Predators a 2-1 win over St. Louis on Saturday night.

Nashville outshot St. Louis 44-19, but didn't find the back of the net until checking line center Scott Nichol tied the game at 11:40 of the third period. The Predators are third in the league with 65 third-period goals.

"The one thing about our team is that we all come to grips with the fact that we all need each other," Predators coach Barry Trotz said. "When we need a goal from someone, then someone steps up."

The Predators, sixth in the Western Conference with 68 points, are 17-7-4 after losing five straight from Dec. 10-19.

Nashville, though, has scored one goal in regulation in each of its last two games. On Saturday, it was without 21-goal scorer J.P. Dumont, who was sidelined with a cold and his status for this game is uncertain.

It was the first game Dumont has missed since joining the Predators before last season, a stretch of 141 games. The veteran forward has three goals and 10 points in his last seven games against Minnesota.

The Wild, meanwhile, got one of its top offensive defenseman back on Thursday. Kim Johnsson was on the ice after missing Tuesday's 4-2 loss to Edmonton due to illness, and had an assist on Kurtis Foster's goal in the third.

Johnsson has two goals and 20 points in 56 games. Foster's third goal in seven games gave him 19 in three seasons with the Wild, tying him with Andrei Zyuzin for third in team history among defenseman.

All-Star Marian Gaborik scored in the third period Thursday - his 26th birthday. That gave him 30 goals for the third straight season and fifth time in his career. He tops Minnesota with 59 points this season.

Gaborik had a four-game points streak (four goals, two assists) against Nashville end in the Wild's 4-1 loss to the Predators on Jan. 5 in the teams' most recent meeting.

2007-2008 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Feb 17 '08 NSH 4 at MIN 5 - OT M. Gaborik
Jan 05 '08 MIN 1 at NSH 4 D. Hamhuis
Dec 18 '07 NSH 2 at MIN 3 B. Rolston
Nov 24 '07 MIN 4 at NSH 3 B. Radivojevic

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