Wild to face Nashvilleâ€™s No. 2 goalie
TUESDAY'S STORY LINES: The Minnesota Wild will go for their fourth straight win and try to continue to play spoiler Tuesday night in Nashville. The Wild will be facing the Predators, who are fighting for the fourth spot in the Western Conference. The fourth spot would guarantee Nashville home ice in the first round of the playoffs. Currently the Predators sit in fifth place with 98 points; Detroit is fourth with 99 points.
While home-ice advantage would be nice, Nashville coach Barry Trotz doesn't believe it is the advantage it used to be. In last year's playoffs, Trotz's team was 2-4-0 at home and 4-2-0 on the road.
"I am looking at all the teams in the West, and it doesn't matter if you finish first or eighth; the difference is going to be very, very small," Trotz said.
The Wild won't face Nashville's No. 1 goalie, Pekka Rinne. Trotz will give Rinne a rest and start Anders Lindback. Rinne has played in 71 games this season and amassed a huge 4,091:06 in ice time.
Trotz said going into the season he envisioned Rinne getting about 65 starts. Rinne is 42-18-8 with a 2.43 GAA and will be a huge key to Nashville's playoff success. Though his number of starts is higher than projected, Trotz isn't worried about him being tired for the playoffs.
"We have cut back his reps, his on ice time a month ago," Trotz said. "He is playing a lot of the games, and they have been high-level games … but we have been monitoring his rest and recovery."
WILD LINEUP NOTES: Niklas Backstrom will get the start in goal. Center Warren Peters will be back in the lineup, and Cody Almond was sent back to Houston.
HE SAID IT: "We can all sit around and think what might have been if we had Mikko (Koivu all season), but you look at the team we are facing tonight and the fact that we have only got 44 games from our starting goalie this year and play against a team that has 71 from theirs, so that has been a factor. But we can't do a whole lot about those things that have gone by. The only thing we can focus on is now and finishing strong." – Wild coach Mike Yeo reflecting on the season