Predators use three-goal third period to down Wild
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Alexandre Carrier and Filip Forsberg scored 35 seconds apart to open a three-goal third period, Juuse Saros made 22 saves and the Nashville Predators came back to beat the Minnesota Wild 3-2 on Thursday night.
Roman Josi added his 10th goal of the season and had an assist, while Ryan O’Reilly had two assists for Nashville. The Predators had lost three of four, but are 21-11-1 in their last 33 games. They entered the day tied for fifth in the NHL in points since Nov. 18 after starting the season 5-10-0.
“I think there’s a lot of teams that are kind of clogged in that zone of being four points away from each other,” Nashville coach Andrew Brunette said. “Tonight was a four-point swing. We know they’ll be breathing down our neck all year. They’re a really good hockey team and to come in here, it’s a hard place to play, I know that firsthand on both sides of the puck and both sides of the dressing room.
"So, it was a big one for us.”
Joel Eriksson Ek scored his team-leading 21st goal of the season for Minnesota and Matt Boldy got his 16th. Filip Gustavsson stopped 25 shots for the Wild, which had its three-game winning streak stopped. Minnesota had been 14-0-1 when leading after two periods.
“It stinks giving up two quick ones,” Boldy said. “Obviously, it’s part of the game. If they score, you've got to weather the storm a little bit, go make plays yourself."
Eriksson Ek opened the scoring midway through the second period on the power play. Kirill Kaprizov came away with the puck in the slot and fired a shot that deflected off Eriksson Ek’s knee past Saros.
Eriksson Ek has goals in three straight games and ran his point streak to six games, during which he has six goals and five assists.
Carrier’s fourth goal of the season tied it just 1:44 into the third and Forsberg added his team-leading 23rd goal of the season.
“We knew we just wanted to play the same as the first — playing fast, be in their face, put the puck deep and go on the forecheck,” Carrier said of the message heading into the third. “So, I think that’s what we did.”
Carrier was in all alone after taking a pass from the wall from teammate Yakov Trenin. He wristed a quick shot high stick side. Less than a minute later, Forsberg deflected a point shot from Josi past Gustavsson.
“I thought we battled and I thought that we competed," Minnesota coach John Hynes said. "But as we always say, you have to play hard to give yourself a chance, but you have to play smart to win. And I think when you don’t have the puck, when you’re in the areas where you’re called upon to defend, and there’s attention to detail, you know in this league, if you give easy looks, a lot of times it ends up in the back of your net. And I felt that was the difference tonight.”
Josi added his second goal in three games when his shot from the point found its way through as O'Reilly and defenseman Brock Faber jumped and screened Gustavsson.
Boldy scored on the power play with just under four minutes remaining.
Minnesota was 2 for 4 with the man advantage.
Predators: Play at Edmonton on Saturday.
Wild: Host Anaheim on Saturday.
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