Minnesota Snaps 2 Game Losing Skid At Predators Expense

By Amanda DiPaolo

The Predators were looking for their first win in regulation since beating Montreal 3-0 on November 18th, but will have to try again Saturday night when the New York Rangers visit Bridgestone Arena. Pekka Rinne started in goal for Nashville, before getting pulled after letting in 3 goals in the first 20 minutes.

ST PAUL, MN - OCTOBER 16: Martin Havlat of the Minnesota Wild skates against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Xcel Energy Center on October 16, 2010 in St Paul, Minnesota. The Blue Jackets defeated the Wild 3-2. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Maybe it was his time in the Central Division, but Martin Havlat has the Predators number (Photo: Yardbarker.com)

Nashville had scoring chances early on, most notably at 4:38 into the first period when captain Shea Weber hit the post. Gaining possession of the puck after the post, the Wild went down the ice and Martin Havlat had a tip-in effort that went wide of the net coming off the rush keeping the score at nothing a piece.

The first power play chance of the game came for the Predators when Marek Zidlicky was called for tripping at 5:54. The newly formed first power play unit — Marcel Goc, Steve Sullivan and Patric Hornqvist with Ryan Suter and Shea Weber — looked solid, generating traffic in front of the net, maintaining puck possession and registering 2 shots on goal. The second pp unit of Cal O’Reilly, Martin Erat, JP Dumont, Colin Wilson and Cody Franson were much less impressive.

It was Minnesota who scored and scored often. Their parade of goals began when on a delayed penalty call on the Predators, Zidlicky took a shot on the side of the net, picked up his own rebound and scored on Rinne. It was his third goal of the season.

Andrew Brunette scored to extend the lead to two under four minutes later. It was the former Predators fourth goal of the season. With 1:48 left to play, Martin Havlat ran the net and made it 3-0 Wild. It was a bad giveaway in the corner by Francis Bouillon that led to Havlat’s goal.

Nashville started the second period with Anders Lindback in goal. Rinne let in three goals on nine shots.

It was a rough start for Lindback before settling into goal. Nick Schultz scored his second goal of the season just 48 seconds into the second period. Suter had possession of the puck, but he lost it when the puck took a weird bounce, giving the Wild a 2-on-1 against the Predators.

Nashville was called for two penalties in the middle frame, but their penalty kill units continued to look solid. Tootoo was called for unsportsmanlike conduct at 3:02 of the second period. Weber was called for holding the stick at 12:06. The Wild rank second on the power play, scoring 25% of the time on the man advantage so Nashville’s ability to shut them down is something to build off of moving forward after Friday afternoon’s loss.

In the third period, Nashville scored its first power play goal since November 13th when Steve Sullivan got his sixth of the season on a smart feed from Colin Wilson, a new edition to the first power play unit centering Hornqvist and Sullivan for Nashville’s second power play opportunity.

Jordin Tootoo drew a penalty on Eric Nystrom for cross checking at 9:43 of the third period. Tootoo was encouraged by Nystrom to go head to head, grabbing Tootoo by the sweater and shaking him a little. Tootoo didn’t react to maintain the man advantage for his team.

The Predators got a 5-on-3 when Zidlicky got called for tripping Sullivan in the early stages of the power play, leaving Nashville two men up for 1:18.

Unable to convert on the power play, it would be the Wild who would get the next goal going up 5-1 with Havlat scoring on the backhand. It was his second of the game and fifth of the season.

The Predators had a strong end to the third period when they were awarded another power play opportunity. With only 8 seconds to go, Martin Erat scored to cut the lead to 3. It was Nashville’s second power play goal of the game with Kyle Brodziak in the box for tripping.

With the matinee behind them, Nashville now returns home to face the New York Rangers Saturday night. The Rangers also play Friday when they visit the Panthers for an evening game before making the trip to Nashville.

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Tags: Anders Lindback Andrew Brunette Cal O'Reilly Cody Franson Colin Wilson Francis Bouillon Jordin Tootoo JP Dumont Marcel Goc Marek Zidlicky Martin Havlat Minnesota Wild Montreal Canadiens Nashville Predators New York Rangers NHL Nick Shultz Patric Hornqvist Pekka Rinne Ryan Suter

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