(SportsNetwork.com) - The Nashville Predators aim to grab sole possession of the top spot in the NHL standings on Saturday afternoon when they look to deal the Minnesota Wild a fourth straight loss.
The Predators have a point in 10 of their last 11 games (8-1-2) and improved to an excellent 16-2-1 at home on Thursday night with a 3-2 overtime win against the Dallas Stars. That has Nashville even with the idle Anaheim Ducks and Tampa Bay Lightning for the most points in the league with 58.
Defenseman and captain Shea Weber scored twice versus the Stars, putting home the winner 17 seconds into overtime as his shot from the right circle bounced off the shoulder of Kari Lehtonen and fluttered over the goal line to end the game.
Miikka Salomaki scored in his first NHL game, Roman Josi supplied two assists -- surpassing 100 points for his career -- and Pekka Rinne made 18 saves for the Predators.
"We played hard for 60 minutes. There was good and bad, but we kept swinging," said Preds coach Peter Laviolette, who on Friday was named one of the two coaches for upcoming All-Star Game in Columbus.
Salomaki picked up his goal after getting recalled from the minors earlier in the day as James Neal and Eric Nystrom were both placed on injured reserve.
"It's been my dream since I was a young kid," Salomaki said of playing in the NHL. "We just played smart hockey and didn't turn pucks over.
Salomaki will have to wait for an encore as he was reassigned on Friday with forwards Matt Cullen and Taylor Beck coming off IR.
Defenseman Ryan Ellis, meanwhile, suffered a lower-body injury on Thursday and is questionable.
Rinne figures to start in net today and he is 10-4-2 with a 2.20 goals against average and .919 save percentage in 17 games (15 starts) all-time versus the Wild. Three of his 35 career shutouts have come against them as well.
One day after getting lit into by head coach Mike Yeo during practice, the Wild responded with a shot-heavy effort versus the Chicago Blackhawks that still resulted in a a 4-2 loss.
Minnesota outshot Chicago 37-10 after the first period, but netminder Corey Crawford was up to the task by stopping 35 of them to help the Blackhawks win.
Jason Zucker and Jason Pominville scored the Minnesota goals, with Niklas Backstrom making 16 saves on 19 shots in his club's ninth loss in 11 games (2-5-4).
"It was probably the best game in a long time for us," said Backstrom. "The result was not what we deserved."
Wild goaltender Darcy Kuemper did not play due to an undisclosed injury that has him on IR, while defenseman Marco Scandella was out with an issue to his upper body.
Forward Zach Parise missed his second game in a row to be with his family as his father J.P. Parise passed away on Wednesday at the age of 73 following a battle with lung cancer.
Parise did return to practice on Friday and expects to play in this game and make the trip to Chicago on Sunday to face the Blackhawks despite the passing of his father, a longtime NHL forward that included a stint with the Minnesota North Stars.
Zach Parise has 14 goals in 32 games this season and ranks second on the club with 30 points.
The Predators notched a 6-5 overtime win over the hosting Wild on Dec. 20 in the first of five meetings this season. Mattias Ekholm had the winning goal, Josi was one of three Nashville skaters with a goal and an assist, and Rinne made 22 saves.
Parise had a pair of goals and an assist, while Backstrom gave up three goals on 30 shots in relief of Kuemper, who made 11 saves on 14 shots in the first period.
It is unknown if Backstrom or the recently recalled John Curry will start today.