The Minnesota Wild defeated the Nashville Predators 3-2 Wednesday at Xcel Energy Center.
The Wild (13-5-3) fired shot-after-shot at Pekka Rinne. It finally found a crack in the big netminder and broke through in the third period.
Dany Heatley scored the Wild’s first goal just over a minute into the final period by redirecting a pass from Mikko Koivu on a 2-on-1 rush.
Koivu later recorded his second assist of the game on the craziest goal, which turned out to be the game-winner by Cal Clutterbuck.
While shorthanded, Koivu intercepted a Predator pass at his own blue line and fired the puck off the far glass with Clutterbuck streaking after it. The Predators were changing and Rinne came out to play the puck, but changed his mind midway to it and fell down. Clutterbuck fought through a chop from Rinne to get the wide open net.
Kyle Brodziak broke a 1-1 tie with a power play goal midway through the third period. He took a cross-ice pass from Matt Cullen and fired a wrist shot through the arm of Rinne. Rinne threw his arms in the air after learning the puck was in the net as if he felt he should have had it.
The Predators (10-7-4) got on the board just over five minutes into the game on its first shot on goal of the game. Jordin Tootoo scored his second goal of the year by driving the net from the corner and finding a hole in Josh Harding.
No. 3 – Mikko Koivu. The Wild forward recorded two assists.
No. 2 – Josh Harding. The Wild goaltender allowed a soft goal early, but rebounded with a very solid game.
No. 1 – Dany Heatley. The Wild forward scored a goal and was at the front of the offense.
Nashville 1 0 1 – 2
Minnesota 0 0 3 – 3
First Period – 1, Nashville, Tootoo 2 (Smith, Spaling), 5:21. Penalties – Erat, Nash (hooking), 1:55; Clutterbuck, Min (hooking), 2:22.
Second Period – None. Penalties – Gillies, Min (boarding), 2:23; Bouillon, Nash (interference), 4:38; Cullen, Min (high sticking), 6:56; Wilson, Nash, double minor (high sticking), 8:04..
Third Period – 2, Minnesota, Heatley 6 (Koivu, Setoguchi), 1:05. 3, Minnesota, Brodziak 5 (Cullen, Scandella), 9:39 (pp). 4, Minnesota, Clutterbuck 5 (Koivu), 13:19 (sh). 5, Nashville, Suter 5 (Tootoo, Erat), 13:57 (pp). Penalties – Bouchard, Min (tripping), 1:43; Smith, Nash (goaltender interference), 6:29; Suter, Nash (slashing), 8:12; Johnson, Min (boarding), 12:20; Clutterbuck, Min (elbowing), 13:36; Prosser (Min), 13:36; Hornqvist, Nash (roughing), 13:36.
Shots on goal – Nashville 9-8-8 25. Minnesota 10-12-8 30.
Goalies – Nashville, Rinne (27-30). Minnesota, Harding (23-25). A – 16,981. Referees – Marcus Vinnerborg, Chris Lee. Linesmen – Ryan Galloway, Brian Mach.