Steve Sullivan's four points not enough as Nashville Predators fall in OT, 5-4

The top line came through for the Nashville Predators to keep them in an often sloppy game and at least get the team to overtime in Minnesota, where they lost 5-4. Jason Arnott had two goals and an assist, while Steve Sullivan added a goal and 3 assists. J.P. Dumont also had two assists.

Follow after the jump for video highlights, a recap, and advanced even strength statistics...

The opening period of this game was marked by a series of miscues made by both teams. While the line of Jordin Tootoo, Marcel Goc and Martin Erat clicked for an early goal that put Nashville ahead 1-0, they were then on the ice (and largely accountable for) all three Minnesota goals scored the rest of the way. While Sully, Dumont and Arnott converted a Marek Zidlicky fumble into a score for the Preds making the score 3-2 at the end of the first, it was a distressingly sloppy effort across the board.

During an intermission interview, Barry Trotz didn't mince words about his team's lack of care handling the puck - fortunately, they took his message to heart and turned things around from that point on. In the second, Nashville outshot Minnesota 8-3 and got the lone goal (a rebound stuff by Sullivan) to tie the game at 3-3.

In the third, an Arnott blast put Nashville up 4-3, and the Preds tried to shut things down from there, but a strong move by Minnesota captain Mikko Koivu to the net resulted in a Francis Bouillon penalty, and on the ensuing power play, Koivu connected on a one-timer to tie the game up once again.

In the overtime session, Nashville didn't even get to apply much pressure before the Wild scored at the 1:26 mark. A shot off the post and a quick pass off the rebound set up Andrew Ebbett for the winning goal. It was certainly the highlight of the season for Ebbett, who has been waived by Anaheim and Chicago already this season before being claimed by Minnesota.

Pekka Rinne stopped 22 of 27 shots on the evening and has now given up at least 3 goals in each of his last 4 games. It's also his third loss in a row, after winning 11 of 12.

Looking at the even-strength statistics below, the Tootoo-Goc-Erat line jumps out as having generated a great deal of shots, but that group (particularly Goc) was also to blame for serious gaffes in the first period that directly led to Minnesota goals. Offensively, Erat did seem to have one of his better games of late. Santorelli appears to become less and less of a factor with each passing game, making one wonder if he needs to be sent back to Milwaukee to get more game action just as Alexander Sulzer has been. The question, however, is whether Colin Wilson is ready to come back.

Overall, the quantity of shots were nicely tilted in Nashville's favor (35-27 on the night), but several of the ones given up by the Preds led to slam-dunk goals for the Wild. At least on a night when they played poor defense they managed to earn a point in the standings on the road; over the course of a long season those add up, and can make the difference in a tight playoff race.

The Preds head to Chicago on Friday night before returning home Saturday to face the Wild in a rematch.

For discounted tickets to any Nashville Predators home game, you can follow this link and use the special offer code "PREDS".

 Even Strength Individual Totals Team Totals While Player Is On Ice
 Player Pos EV TOI Shots Shts Blkd Missed Shts Blocks SOG For SOG Ag SOG +/- Tot SF Tot SA Corsi
 Jason Arnott C 18:17 0 0 0 1 15 9 6 20 20 0
 Steve Sullivan L 17:48 2 1 0 0 16 9 7 21 21 0
 J P Dumont R 15:06 1 1 0 0 12 6 6 14 15 -1
 David Legwand C 15:55 1 0 0 0 8 5 3 9 9 0
 Jerred Smithson R 16:02 1 1 0 1 5 6 -1 9 10 -1
 Joel Ward R 18:31 2 0 1 0 7 5 2 13 10 3
 Marcel Goc C 15:51 0 3 0 1 10 9 1 18 13 5
 Martin Erat R 16:56 3 0 0 0 15 11 4 24 16 8
 Jordin Tootoo R 15:26 4 0 3 0 14 9 5 20 13 7
 Wade Belak R 2:23 0 0 0 0 0 1 -1 0 3 -3
 Michael Santorelli C 4:53 1 0 0 0 3 3 0 4 7 -3
 Patric Hornqvist R 7:17 3 0 0 0 5 2 3 6 6 0
 Shea Weber D 21:55 2 0 1 1 11 9 2 20 16 4
 Ryan Suter D 22:03 2 0 1 1 10 8 2 19 16 3
 Kevin Klein D 20:00 4 1 0 3 14 9 5 17 16 1
 Francis Bouillon D 16:17 2 0 1 0 13 13 0 18 18 0
 Dan Hamhuis D 19:10 0 1 0 0 13 9 4 16 20 -4
 Cody Franson D 11:09 4 0 1 2 11 4 7 14 12 2
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