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Wild vs Predators: Who has the Biggest Turkey Hangover?

(Sports Network) – A pair of teams trying to avoid three-game losing streaks will meet today in St. Paul, as the Minnesota Wild host the Nashville Predators at Xcel Energy Center.

The Wild have dropped two straight in regulation, while the Predators are 0-1-1 during their mini-slide.

Minnesota has been victimized by poor defense in its last two outings, getting outscored 11-3 over that stretch after allowing just five total goals in a three-game winning streak prior to this skid.

The Wild are closing out a three-game homestand today and will try to avoid going winless on the residency. Todd Richards’ club is 6-5-1 overall as the host this season.

After getting dealt a 5-2 setback by the New York Rangers on Saturday, the Wild dropped a 6-1 decision Wednesday against Philadelphia. Danny Briere, Andreas Nodl and Ville Leino posted a goal and assist each for the Flyers, who scored three unanswered goals in the third period to put the game out of reach.

Patrick O’Sullivan, who came over in a trade with Carolina earlier this week, scored in his debut for the Wild, while Niklas Backstrom was torched for a season-high six goals on 28 shots.

“I think I’ve stood up in front of you guys a number of times and been really disappointed with how we played,” admitted Richards. “I know it’s a 6-1 game and the last 12 minutes, right after they scored the short-handed goal, that part was disappointing, but up to that point I didn’t mind the way we were playing.”

Wild defenseman Marek Zidlicky missed the game with a leg injury and is questionable for today’s tilt.

The Predators are coming off Wednesday’s shootout loss to the visiting St. Louis Blues. Andy McDonald scored nine seconds into the game and also notched the only goal of the shootout for St. Louis.

McDonald slid a backhander under Pekka Rinne to begin the fifth round of the shootout. Sergei Kostitsyn tried to extend the shootout for Nashville, but hit the post with his shot.

Jerred Smithson scored the lone goal for Nashville, while Rinne needed to make only 14 saves in regulation and overtime to help the Predators earn a point.

“For the most part, we wanted to establish a good tempo and be real firm on the puck,” Nashville head coach Barry Trotz said. “After we got through the first period, I thought we were pretty good.”

Nashville defenseman Ryan Suter returned from a two-game absence due to a lower-body injury to play in Wednesday’s game. However, forward David Legwand missed his third straight game with a lower-body issue and is questionable for tonight’s game.

The Predators are 6-6-0 as the visiting team this year and have won three of their last five road tilts.

Nashville and the Wild split four meetings in 2009-10, but the Predators posted a 5-0 win when the teams last met on Mar. 18 in the Music City. The Wild have taken five of the last nine meetings in this series overall. Nashville has also lost two of three and four of its last six in the Gopher State.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.