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Nashville Predators 2, Minnesota Wild 5: Zucker & Granlund Are Good

Bye weeks, huh?

NHL: Nashville Predators at Minnesota Wild Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports

The Predators lost 5-2 to the Wild in their return to the ice after a long bye week. It was yet another night of frustrating inconsistency from the Preds, while the Wild looked like their usual goal-scoring, puck-stopping selves.

The Preds found themselves in the penalty box early and often. They drew five penalties in the first period, which led to three power plays for the Wild. Mikael Granlund capitalized on one of those power plays, pouncing on a rebound in front of Pekka Rinne, making it a 1-0 hockey game. There wasn’t much offense from the Preds in the first period, as they mostly had to play on their heels due to penalties. Being down 1-0 after 20 minutes had to feel like a relief.

To their credit, the Preds bounced back a bit in the 2nd period. Even earned a power play of their very own! Didn’t help though. The Wild went up 2-0 after Jason Zucker connected on a one-timer from Granlund on a 2-on-1. The 2nd period was a snoozer outside of a brief few moments where both teams had a couple nice chances. So we went to the 3rd period down a couple goals.

And it didn’t take long for it to get worse. Mikko Koivu scored 35 seconds into the 3rd period to make it 3-0. It looked like the Preds would roll over at that point, which they almost did. But then Colin Wilson and P.K. Subban decided to make it a game by scoring midway through the period. Suddenly, it was a 3-2 game and things got intense. But then Subban made a risky play on the blue line, leading to a Zucker breakaway and goal to make it 4-2. Add an empty netter from Eric Staal and it was all over.

Devan Dubnyk had yet another nice game, stopping 36 shots and earning his 32nd win. Rinne was good during stretches of this game, but when the team needed key saves, he was unable to deliver. He finished with 27 saves.

Somehow, I thought the Preds might avoid the bye week blues. But they just couldn’t get any energy going in the 1st and 2nd. They nearly made up for it in the 3rd, but when you have to take more risks, you tend to give up chances. This is why good teams like the Wild play a full 60 minutes of solid hockey, rather than try to pack all their fun into one five minute stretch.

On to Columbus!

Random Observations

  • Kevin Fiala was called up today, but won’t start in this one. He just played the night before, but still... I’d like to have seen Fiala back in the lineup against a good Wild team.
  • Well, there you go. You commit penalties and this Wild team will make you pay. Granlund on the doorstep makes it a 1-0 game.
  • More penalties are not a good idea. And yet...
  • Ryan Ellis with the best chance in the 1st period on a shorthanded breakaway. I’m not exactly sure what Dubnyk did here, but it worked. Wild still lead.
  • Sigh. More fighting. More stupid penalties. And more people who think that fighting is the way to get your team going.
  • This is just... so terrible to watch.
  • Why do the Preds continue to try stretch passes against this team? They never work. Yet here they go, stretch passing like it’s some secret recipe to beating this team. It isn’t.
  • The only way to score against this team will be to grind out offensive possession. Like you probably won’t score unless you battle for the puck for a solid 60-70 seconds in the offensive zone and then catch Dubnyk out of position.
  • ...and for a few moments the Preds had it. Josi had a great chance, as did James Neal. Still nothing by Dubnyk.
  • A 2-on-1 leads to a goal for the Wild. Zucker on the one-timer from Granlund. And just after the Preds had some life.
  • Fast forward to where this game is over and we can play someone else, please.
  • Koivu puts up a 3rd goal, which means that we definitely need to fast forward to where this game is over and we can play someone else.
  • Ok, well Colin Wilson scored, so you don’t have to stop it just yet.
  • What the heck, the Preds are awake?
  • P.K. Subban scores!! They wave it off initially, thinking that Neal interfered, but they change it to a goal. Holy cow, it’s a one goal game.
  • Ok, yeah nevermind. Zucker scores on a breakaway. You can go back to doing that thing I said earlier.

OTF’s Super Duper Stars of the Game

  1. Colin Wilson: Starting to put together some nice performances. A goal and an assist tonight.
  2. Yannick Weber: Maybe his best game as a Pred? Only one assist, but he skated well tonight.
  3. P.K. Subban: A nice goal, but that turnover was costly. Still had a decent overall game.

Tweets of the Night

Game Extras

Game Video