The Minnesota Wild will likely need to pick up the pace offensively if they hope to rebound from consecutive home losses. It shouldn't be too difficult to keep up with the low-scoring Nashville Predators.
The Wild will look to break out of their scoring funk when they host the Predators on Friday in a matchup of the two lowest-scoring teams in the Western Conference.
Minnesota (10-8-2) is scoring 2.35 goals per game -- tied for 26th in the NHL -- and has been held to two goals or less in eight straight home games.
Martin Havlat, who leads the team with 14 assists, had his five-game point streak snapped in Wednesday night's 6-1 loss to Philadelphia.
"We're kind of losing our focus, and they're capitalizing," forward John Madden said. "There's some good things going on out there, but the good things have to outweigh the bad things, and right now we're not getting enough good things."
Havlat has 31 points in 24 career games versus Nashville, including 11 multi-point efforts.
Although captain Mikko Koivu has is second on the team with 16 points, he has only one goal in his last 11 games. Koivu has 20 points in 17 games against the Predators.
Niklas Backstrom allowed a season-worst six goals against the Flyers and saw his goals-against average climb .44 points over the last two games to 2.35.
Backstrom is 7-2-0 with a 3.03 GAA against the Predators, and could be in line for a bounce back performance against a team which has struggled to score itself.
Nashville (9-7-4) has been held to three goals in its last three games, losing 2-1 in a shootout to St. Louis on Wednesday.
The Predators outshot the Blues 30-15 but managed just one goal in regulation, then missed all five shootout attempts to fall to 4-7-1 in their last 12 contests.
"We definitely played well enough to win," captain Shea Weber said. "It was just one of those games where we couldn't produce anything offensively. We needed to score goals."
Nashville was 0 for 3 on the power play and has converted two of its last 45 opportunities with the man advantage.
Pekka Rinne had another strong performance with 14 saves. He is 2-1-1 in his last four starts despite a stellar 0.96 goals-against average in that span.
Rinne is tied for the league lead with two road shutouts, and is 3-1-1 against Minnesota. He shut out the Wild for the second time with 17 saves in a 5-0 win March 18.
Marcel Goc, tied for the team lead with five goals, has goals in three straight games against Minnesota.
Steve Sullivan has also been productive against the Wild, tallying five goals and 13 assists in his last 10 meetings.
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