The Minnesota Wild beat the Nashville Predators 2-1 in overtime Saturday night at the Xcel Energy Center. The victory ends the Wild’s 3 game losing streak and snaps Nashville’s 4 game winning streak. Devin Setoguchi‘s slap shot one-timer with 38.7 left on the clock sealed the win, and earned the Wild 2 much needed points. Seto’s first goal of the season couldn’t have come at a better time. It also came on a power play, courtesy of a Paul Gaustad penalty for playing the puck with his hand during a face off. That’s a new penalty this season and a rarely called infraction at that. Minnesota now sits in 2nd place in the Northwest Division with 11 points, three points back of division leader Vancouver. The Wild will have a chance to close that gap when they travel to Calgary and Vancouver next Monday and Tuesday. Minnesota also outshot Nashville 32 to 26, including a 5-1 edge in overtime. A vocal crowd of 18,806 saw the Wild fall behind midway through the first period, but Niklas Backstrom slammed the door after that with a stellar performance that lifted his record to 4-4-1 on the season. Chris Mason took the loss for Nashville and falls to 1-0-1.
The Wild started off well, outshooting the Predators 10-6 in the first frame, but just couldn’t quite finish off any of their chances. Nashville penalties gave the Wild three power play chances in the first period alone. The power play units were moving the puck well and getting chances. As the period moved along, the Wild once again were generating chances, but couldn’t finish on any of them. Defenseman Nate Prosser, playing in his first game since January 25th, looked good clearing Nashville players out of the crease in front of Backstrom. He was a plus-1 with 10:29 in ice time on the night and had an edge to his play shift after shift.
The Wild tied the game at the 12:59 mark of the second period, as Cal Clutterbuck tipped in a Ryan Suter slap shot from the top of the slot. The goal was Cal’s 2nd of the year. He also had a solid game, registering 3 hits, a plus-1 rating and 10:32 in ice time. The Wild could have easily scord 2 or 3 more goals, but Mason made some spectacular saves to keep the score knotted at one. After two periods, the Wild held a 19-13 edge in shots, holding Nashville to just 7 shots for the period. The Wild defensemen had a good evening, making good clean first passes out of the zone and moving the puck up the ice quickly. They were able to prevent the prolonged stretches of puck control by the opposition that had occurred often in the last few games.
The Wild nearly let the game get away in the third, giving the Predators 6 minutes in power play time on a pair of high sticking penalties. Devin Setoguchi was assessed a 4 minute double minor and Tom Gilbert a 2 minute penalty. Nikas Backstrom turned away several chances, as Nashville piled up a dozen shots in the third. While the Predators failed to score on their power play chances in the third, the Wild struggled–going 1 for 6 with the man advantage on the night. When they finally broke through, it proved to be the game winner. Power play success is something that will have to improve–and quickly–if the Wild hope to put any kind of a winning streak together. This game marked the fourth straight in which Minnesota failed to score more than a single goal in regulation. The Wild haven’t scored more than 2 goals since January 29th against Columbus. Post game, Head coach Mike Yeo said, “The guys stuck with it tonight…The mood on the bench was there was no way we were going to lose this game!” It was a satisfying win for the team in front of their home fans; no boos raining down as they left the ice tonight and high fives and cheers all around. Now, it’s time to take the show on the road to Calgary and see if the momentum they’ve built up can last. GonePuckWild.com will be with you each step of the way as our Minnesota Wild charge forward in this crazy compressed season. Let’s Go Wild!!