Nashville Predators 2, Minnesota Wild 3: Nino Niederreiter Ends Wild Game in OT

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sport

The Predators picked up a point in a crucial divisional game, but were so close to securing two much-needed points.

Man, it's been along time since we've seen each other. I've missed you all.

The Nashville Predators played their first game since the Stone Age, and it was an important one against the Minnesota Wild. The Preds have been creeping closer to a playoff spot over the last few weeks, and with Vancouver free falling in the standings, it seemed like the perfect time to take a huge step toward the second season.

In a game against a division rival, the game was everything it was billed to be. There were big saves, big goals, and neither side wanted to give an inch. Ultimately, the game went to the extra session and Nino Niederreiter ended the night with a sharp shot to make Preds fans go to bed a little angry.

Random Observations

  • The cliché of "it's never a bad play to put the puck on net" is a cliché for a reason. Craig Smith fired a no-chance shot at Darcy Keumper, who had trouble cleanly playing the puck. Smith then used his speed to crash the net and send home the rebound that was delivered for him on a silver platter. Be still, my beating heart.
  • Congrats to Carter Hutton, who picked up his first NHL assist on the Smith goal. Now, if he could start scoring goals...
  • Hutton didn't start out the game on his strongest game, but by the end of the contest he was playing like a man possessed. The Wild were dominating in the Predators zone for the good part of the end of the 3rd period, and Hutton shut the door to send them to overtime.
  • Victor Barley played his heart out tonight. The young defenseman has been a frequent scratch this season, but really showed what he was made of with a great shot on net that Smith deflected for his second of the game.
  • That was just unfortunate timing with Shea Weber's stick breaking during an attack in OT. It opened up a window for the Wild to rush the other way, and Niederreiter fired a pretty wicked shot using his soon-to-be teammate as a screen. There isn't a font big enough to express the amount of UGH I feel right now.
  • PING!
Bright side? Both Vancouver and Winnipeg lost tonight, so even though the Predators can't be in a playoff spot by the Olympic break, they can be (at best) two points out. It'll be a hard earned victory Saturday night on Broadway, as the lead-leading Anaheim Ducks come to town. But admit it, none of us really thought the team would be this close to contention at this point in the season. There are many things worse than being four points out with a month and a half to go.

Boxscore - Game Summary - Event Summary

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