Preview: The Wild returns from the All-Star break on a two-game winning streak, having won at home against Dallas and following that with a victory at Colorado to end an 11-game road winless streak. The Predators have won nine of 10 to skyrocket within three points of conference-leading Detroit.
Players to watch: Predators G Pekka Rinne has won nine consecutive starts, allowing two goals or fewer in every contest (.957 save percentage, 1.34 goals-against average). He is 18-3 in his past 21. F Mike Fisher and F Martin Erat have 11 points in the past 14 games. In January, Sergei Kostitsyn has goals on seven of 12 shots. In the past 31 games, D Shea Weber has 26 points. ... Wild F Dany Heatley has two goals and two assists in his past two games. Rookies Chad Rau and Carson McMillan have scored the game-winning goals the past two games.
Numbers: The Predators have won 12 of 14 since Dec. 28, outscoring their opponents 44-24. ... Nashville boasts the NHL's second-best power play (22.5 percent). ... In the past 24 games, Nashville has been shorthanded 2.62 times a game (18-6).
Injuries: Wild C Mikko Koivu (shoulder), LW/RW Pierre-Marc Bouchard (concussion), LW Guillaume Latendresse (concussion) and RW Jarod Palmer (concussion) are out. Predators D Francis Bouillon (upper body) is questionable.