Predators prepare for Wild in wake of deadly Nashville tornado

The tornado struck Nashville about an hour after the Predators took off for Minnesota.
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Arguably the biggest game of the season for both the Wild and Predators, Tuesday night's game in St. Paul will be played less than 24 hours after deadly tornadoes and severe storms ripped through Tennessee, including the Predators' home city of Nashville. 

So far, 22 people have been confirmed killed in the Middle Tennessee severe weather outbreak, which produced a damaging tornado that moved through Nashville just after the Predators departed Minnesota following an 8-3 home loss to the Edmonton Oilers. 

"The team had departed for Minnesota about an hour before the tornadoes hit, so we are all safe. Heartbroken to see the damage back home. Tough to think about hockey on a day like this. Stay strong, everyone, be home soon," said Predators communications coordinator Brooks Bratten. 

As a gesture, the Wild has announced it will be donating $50,000 towards relief efforts in Tennessee, half of which is coming from owners Craig and Helen Leipold.

The devastation comes exactly one year to the day that 23 people died in Alabama in a March 3, 2019 tornado outbreak, according to the Storm Prediction Center.

Fatalities have been confirmed in four counties, while more tornado victims remained missing as of an afternoon update from Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee. Meanwhile, the Predators must take the ice in a battle against Minnesota with big playoff implications, all while dealing with the shock and devastation of the storms. 

"As the Preds prepare for tonight's game, our hearts also remain back home with all those who have been affected by the devastating tornado," the Predators' Twitter account says. 

Entering play Tuesday, Nashville (72 points) controls the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference playoff race. Minnesota (71 points) is just one point back, also trailing Winnipeg and Arizona, both of whom have 72 points in a jam-packed wild-card race. 

Nashville returns to Minnesota March 15 and they meet in the final game of the regular season in Nashville on April 4. 

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