After three days off for the holidays, the Wild has arrived in Nashville, where its franchise-record 10-game winning streak and 11-game point streak will be on the line tonight against the rival Predators.
So will Devan Dubnyk's career-best eight-game winning streak and 12-game point streak (10-0-2) since Nov. 19.
As part of the 10-game winning streak, the Wild has won five in a row on the road, including a game in Nashville.
Since we last spoke at least on here after the Rangers win Friday night, here are some links of stories you may have missed:
The first game after Christmas traditionally has been difficult for the Wild.
Since 2006, the Wild is 1-7-1 (40-22 goal deficit) in the first game after Christmas, including five consecutive losses (last beating St. Louis at home in 2009).
Of course, I gave you similar gloomy records with the Wild the game before and after Thanksgiving, and the Wild ended up beating Winnipeg and Pittsburgh at home to start its seven-game home winning streak.
So we'll see what happens tonight, but it's always a challenge when you don't practice for three days, then have to board a flight the morning of the game for a morning skate.
Zach Parise, who has missed two games with strep throat, and Erik Haula, who has missed three games with what I believe was a hip injury, are here and plan to play tonight.
I told Parise he looks better. He said, "Feel better, too." Rough go for him the past month and he hopes this is behind him.
Parise has had strep throat four times since right before the World Cup, he says. He said the last time, it felt like he was swallowing knives. He told the docs, "just take out my tonsils," but he was told at his age, it would be a killer surgery right now and sideline him for a bit. So if he gets them out, he plans to wait 'til the summer.
"Kids recover like that," Parise said, snapping his fingers.
I figured Bruce Boudreau would play Parise on the third line with Haula and Jason Pominville so as not to disturb the top two lines. Each member of the first two lines had multi-point games at New York.
But Parise and Pominville were centered by Eric Staal in the morning skate and Nino Niederreiter and Charlie Coyle were back on Haula's wings. So same lines as before Haula was hurt.
Tyler Graovac will center Chris Stewart and Jordan Schroeder.
Bigtime deepens the lineup, especially Haula at third-line center.
"Centers a very difficult position up front," Boudreau said. "[Haula's] probably going to be a little rusty. Grao played pretty good for us, and now he’s the fourth-line center, so it gives you more things to do if people aren’t going."
Defenseman Christian Folin replaces Nate Prosser, and Kurtis Gabriel is out.
On a sad note, longtime Los Angeles Kings employee John Wolf passed away from cancer yesterday. Wolf is the guy who switched Boudreau's flight from one of the doomed 9/11 planes that crashed into the World Trade Center.
If you don't recall the circumstances, here's my Boudreau profile from opening night.
Boudreau didn't realize he passed until I told him today: "He was a really good man to me and my wife, and if it wasn't for him changing the flight, I wouldn't be here today. It was that simple. He's the one that made all the flights. He OKed mine. I owe him everything for the rest of my life. If my kids needed things, if my wife needed things, he was always right there. He was a really good man."
Just an fyi: The next Russo-Souhan Show is at Hell's Kitchen tomorrow at 6 p.m. Please join us.