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  • Wild's first period holds off Predators in 5-2 victory


    The Wild flew into Nashville for their first game against the Predators this season. Minnesota entered the game with a 5 game winning streak while the Predators were coming off a 6-3 comeback win against the Blues. Any win is a good win, but the Wild certainly left much to be desired tonight.

    The first period started off fairly even with both teams exchanging a few shots and a few chances. Half way through the first period, Predators’ forward Craig Smith would take a penalty by high sticking Devan Dubnyk. On the ensuing power play, Jonas Brodin would put away his 3rd goal of the season with a little help from Nino Niederreiter, who effectively screened Pekka Rinne during the play.

    Almost immediately after the goal, a Wild defenseman would pinch in the offensive zone while all three forwards were low which lead to a four on two odd-man rush for the Predators. Luckily, Zach Parise, who looked more tenacious tonight than the past few games, backchecked hard and was able to breakup the rush. Then about two minutes after the game’s first goal, Ryan Ellis would tie the game with a shot that found daylight short side over Dubnyk's glove.

    Shortly after that, Eric Staal, the Sash-Ringing, Flash-Singing, Bash-Pinging, Hash-Slinging Slasher would strike again to put the Wild on their first penalty kill of the night. After the PK expired, PK Subban was able to break up a chance led by Staal and Mikael Granlund.

    With around two minutes left in the first period, Parise caught a nifty pass from Staal for a slick breakaway opportunity but was unable to finish on the play.

    Less than a minute later, Erik Haula would lead the third line on a rush and give the puck over to Niederreiter. From the halfwall, Nino threw the puck on net and Charlie Coyle would put the rebound away and give the Wild another lead.

    Twenty-nine seconds later, Niederreiter flew into the zone but was unable to control the puck. After eventually getting control of the puck behind the net, Niederreter found Staal streaking towards the crease with a pass. Pekka Rinne looked like he gave up on the play as Staal easily shot the puck into the back of the net.

    Jason Pominville just missed an open net with a shot as the period ended. The shots on goal count at this point had the Predators up with 13 to the Wild’s 10.

    The second period started with little fanfare except a scoreless Granlund breakaway and another Pominville whiff.

    Shortly after, Rinne, who usually has good puck-handling skills, took a delay of game penalty as he flipped the puck over the far side boards. The Wild didn’t get any shots tallied on the following power play, but they did get a few good chances.

    Afterwards, Coyle would get stopped by Rinne on a solid chance as he tried backhanding a puck in front of the crease. In the following play, Mikko Koivu would take the Wild’s second penalty of the night. Mike Fisher would convert on the Predators’ power play and bring his team within one goal of a tie.

    The Wild spent the rest of the period in their own zone as they couldn’t find any way to break out effectively, and they only managed to get three shots on goal in the entire period. Meanwhile, the Predators were able to get 13 shots through to Dubnyk to lead 26 to 13 for the game. Jared Spurgeon had a decent chance at the end of the period, but that’s really only worth mentioning because the right shot defenseman has only scored one goal this season, which was an empty netter, after scoring 10 last season.

    The third period wasn’t much different for the Wild. They spent much of it in their own zone as the Predators continued to gain momentum. With about 6 minutes left in the game, Chris Stewart would take an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty by shoving his stick towards Ryan Johansen’s face after the Nashville center had taken a few jabs at Stewart.

    The Wild were able to kill off the penalty, but they continued to turtle in their own zone for much of the game. Pominville had yet another chance shortly after the penalty ended but was unable to convert. Eventually, Rinne was pulled for an extra attacker and both Staal and Granlund were able to nab empty net goals. The final shot tally was 36 to 19 in favor of the Predators while the final score was 5 to 2 in favor of the Wild.

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