Clutterbuck scores game-winner for Wild over NashvilleMinnesota Sports
-- Cal Clutterbuck netted the eventual game- winning goal in the third period and Josh Harding stopped 23 shots as the Minnesota Wild held off the Nashville Predators, 3-2, at Xcel Energy Center.
St. Paul, MN (Sports Network) - Cal Clutterbuck netted the eventual game- winning goal in the third period and Josh Harding stopped 23 shots as the Minnesota Wild held off the Nashville Predators, 3-2, at Xcel Energy Center.
Kyle Brodziak and Dany Heatley scored, while Mikko Koivu added a pair of assists for the Wild, who have won five consecutive games and improved to an NHL-best 13-5-3 this season.
Jordin Tootoo had a goal and an assist, while Ryan Suter netted the other goal for Nashville, which has dropped three straight games.
With Minnesota holding a 2-1 lead late in the third period, Clutterbuck cemented the win while shorthanded.
The Wild sent the puck the length of the ice on a clear and Clutterbuck, who was lingering in the neutral zone, chased it down. He caught a huge break when Pekka Rinne came out slightly to play the puck but fell down, allowing Clutterbuck to pop it into the open net at 13:19.
Nashville made it a one-goal game just 38 seconds later during a 5-on-3 power play, when Martin Erat passed to Tootoo along the goal line. Tootoo found Suter in the slot and the big forward fired it past Harding.
The Predators elected to pull Rinne with under a minute to go. They got some good shots on Harding in the final moments, but the netminder stood tall and made Clutterbuck's goal hold up as the winner.
Nashville opened the scoring at 5:21 of the opening period when Tootoo picked up a loose puck in the right corner, walked out front and chipped it past Harding for the 1-0 lead.
After a scoreless second stanza, Minnesota took control by scoring three consecutive goals.
Heatley tied it at 1:05 of the third period when he accepted a great pass in the slot from Koivu and one-timed it into an open net.
The Wild took the lead with the power play at 9:39 of the final stanza, when Brodziak received a smooth cross-ice pass from Matt Cullen and slapped it through Rinne's legs from the left circle.