Wild win fifth straightMinnesota Sports - After a Martin Erat power-play goal at 9:27 of the first period, the Minnesota Wild responded quickly and frequently to hand the Predators a 5-3 loss, their second loss to Craig Leipold’s team in the last four days. The Wild has won a season-high five straight.
From The Eaxminer.com
NASHVILLE - After a Martin Erat power-play goal at 9:27 of the first period, the Minnesota Wild responded quickly and frequently to hand the Predators a 5-3 loss, their second loss to Craig Leipold’s team in the last four days. The Wild has won a season-high five straight.
Erat, who was moved up to the first power play unit Saturday in place of Steve Sullivan, put the Predators in front 1-0 with a surprising slap shot from the top of the right faceoff circle that beat Wild goaltender Josh Harding on the far side.
Erat’s power play goal ended a five game stretch where the team failed to score a power-play marker.
That was the end of the story offensively for Nashville for a while.
Despite having four-first period power plays, the Predators concluded the first stanza with just seven shots on goal. Minnesota tallied twice inside the final two minutes of the first on goals by Andrew Ebbett and James Sheppard. Sheppard’s goal came with under 12-seconds remaining.
“It’s always tough when you have a 1-0 lead and they score one right after the power play,” Erat said. “The second one there was like 12-seconds left, it’s very tough coming to the dressing room after they get two goals.”
In the second, former Predator Andrew Brunette and Antti Miettinen scored to send the teams to the second intermission with the Wild holding a 4-1 lead.
“5-on-5, we were clearly the better team, and a lot of that carried over into the second period,” Wild coach Todd Richards said. “It was great to see some guys get some goals.”
Predators coach Barry Trotz lifted starting goaltender Dan Ellis after two, electing to insert Pekka Rinne in for the start of the third period. Usually when a coach lifts a goaltender between periods, it is to send a message to the team that they are not playing well in front of their netminder, and this was the case Saturday. Several Minnesota goals were scored close to the Nashville goal, with little help given to Ellis by his teammates.
“He gave us some really good goaltending in back-to-back nights, and I just put the onus on the players,” Trotz said. “I know Ellie wasn’t happy with me, but he was the reason we were partially still in the game.”
Eric Belanger’s power-play goal at 3:27 of the third put the Wild up 5-1.
Jason Arnott scored his team-leading 10th goal of the season at 9:05 of the third, and Marcel Goc closed out the scoring in the final minute to make the more digestible, well to anyone who didn’t actually see the game that is.
“After a big win last night in Chicago against a great team like them, to come out flat in the first is pretty frustrating,” Predators captain Jason Arnott said. “We just have to take the next two days and get ready for Tuesday.”