Nashville Predators 3, Minnesota Wild 2: Hodgson's First Wins It

Preds end their losing skid in Minnesota. A tough, physical bout, but the good guys found a way.

The Predators kicked off their Central Division tour with a nasty, bruising 3-2 win over the Minnesota Wild.

After a slow start in the 1st, things picked up in the 2nd-- oh wait, no they didn't. This game was played almost entirely in a phone booth. Hardly an inch of ice was uncovered. With both teams playing tight defensive hockey and not allowing easy quality chances, it was tough to see where goals would come from. But they did come eventually.

Mike Fisher scored first in the 2nd period as the Predators caught the Wild on a line change. Weber with the old two-line pass leading Fisher into the zone untouched, who then slotted it past Devan Dubnyk. A rare, wide open lane to the net and the Preds took advantage. The Wild answered on the power-play, as Marco Scandella put one by Rinne after a questionable call on Ryan Ellis.

The pace quickened in the 3rd. First, Roman Josi scored 12 seconds into the period to give the Preds the lead. The Preds had the Wild on their heels for a bit, but then started taking stupid penalties. Matt Dumba's power-play goal tied it up at 2. Things started getting pretty nasty towards the end, but the refs elected to fault the Predators for most of the foul play. But the Preds would weather the penalty storm and find a 3rd period savior: Cody Hodgson! His late 3rd period goal wins it for Nashville and the 2-game losing streak is over. Nice win!

What a start to Central Division play, huh? And there are 28 more divisional games to go.

Random Observations

  • James Neal's hit on Zach Parise early in the 1st period sent Parise to the locker room for a moment with an apparent injury. Neal came in late and bit high, but he didn't stride into the hit and looked more like he was turning away from the hit rather than turning into it. And it wasn't called a penalty. Parise returned to the game in the 1st period, but didn't return after the 1st intermission.
  • Wow, a little filth in Ryan Suter's game these days. Cheap retaliation slash on Salomaki, who was simply finishing a legal check. Ryan... don't do that, Ryan.
  • Not many offensive chances in the 1st 20 minutes. Neal had a couple decent chances on the power-play. Smith had a partial breakaway, but missed the net. Zucker had a shot on the power-play that clanged off Rinne's face-mask. There was more snarl, less bite from both teams in the 1st.
  • Ryan Ellis breaking out of the defensive zone is fun to watch. Great instincts, great speed... he almost connected with Neal on a 3-on-2, but Dubnyk made two great stops. Both goalies playing well right now.
  • More tough sledding in the 2nd. Neither team is allowing great chances, forcing everything wide. Interesting chess game, even if it's not the most interesting hockey.
  • Jarnkrok takes a full-on check into his shoulder while reaching for the puck and he looks like he's in pain. Going to the locker room. Noooo. (He came back later. Yayyy)
  • Fisher's goal and Weber's pass: both were so simple and yet so good. And timely too, as Rinne had just stopped Zucker on a breakaway for his biggest save of the game.
  • Scandella ties it on the power-play. Just had too much room on the Preds' left circle and he beat Rinne stick-side. Boo.
  • Salomaki came to play tonight. Very active in both zones, playing physical and working the boards like a machine. He will get one soon if he keeps it up.
  • Josi scores! Wow. 12 seconds into the 3rd and the Preds lead. It hit all kinds of junk on its way to the net, but whatever--it counts.
  • Penalties coming now. Predators doing everything they can to let the Wild tie it up. And that's exactly what the Wild do, as Dumba blasts one from the blue-line. Paul Gaustad also took a puck to the face, so not sure if he'll return.
  • Let's just get all these dumb penalties out of the way while it's November, ok?
  • Forsberg starting to get under the skin of opponents. That little reverse-shoulder check always seems to work and you can tell it aggravates folks. His physical game is simply undeniable. Now he just needs to start shooting the puck with the same aggression.
  • Hodgson! What a time for his first as a Pred. Great things happen when you crash the net, kids.
  • Oh, wow. That was just NOT a penalty on Wilson. There is no way around it. Horrible.

OTF's Super Duper Stars of the Game

  • Pekka Rinne: excellent game tonight. Very reliable in the net, as usual. Some huge stops early.
  • Mike Fisher: Crafty goal from #12, catching the Wild and Dubnyk off guard. His line played well all night.
  • Cody Hodgson: congrats to him on his first as a Pred! Maybe his door has opened a little bit with Jarnkrok and Bourque playing well.

Was the Smashville App Correct?

@TomAWillis with the no-look fade-away bank shot right here. BOOM. 2-11 on the season.

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