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Nashville Predators 3, Minnesota Wild 4 (OT): Wild gamble pays off

Mar 10, 2024; Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Wild forward Kirill Kaprizov (97) scores a power play goal against the Nashville Predators during the second period at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports

The game started out with a bang, as Michael McCarron and Marcus Foligno dropped the gloves just a couple of minutes in. Just after they took a seat for fighting, Jonas Brodin got the Wild on the board at 3:16 during a scramble in front of Juuse Saros.

The Preds got a chance to get it back when Brock Faber tripped Filip Forsberg, but the Wild killed the penalty off smoothly, despite some shaky looks from Marc-AndrĂ© Fleury. However, the Preds didn’t let that discourage them; some sharp passing from Kiefer Sherwood let Mark Jankowski tie it up at 9:00 even. Less than a minute later, Sherwood and Mason Shaw got into a fight of their own, and continued chirping at each other from the penalty boxes after they’d been separated and removed from the ice.

Not long after that, Dante Fabbro suffered an upper-body injury–not immediately apparent–and left the game.

Saros had to make a couple of big saves as the period went on, including a massive one on Adam Beckman with just a few minutes left. The game remained tied heading into the second, where Nashville came out strong and took the lead at 3:36 off a Luke Evangelista goal. The Wild were able to slow the Preds down after that, with the second period settling into a crawl for a while before Nashville broke through and started putting pressure on Fleury again.

However, a careless interference penalty from Ryan O’Reilly sent Joel Eriksson Ek flying and put the Wild on the power play for the first time this afternoon. While Saros made a series of determined saves during a flurry, he wasn’t able to freeze the puck, and an unlucky bounce off of Luke Schenn’s skate let Kirill Kaprizov tie the game back up, 2-2, at 18:42.

Colton Sissons took an early penalty to open the third, but the Preds were able to kill this one off. The Wild were able to hold the Preds, who played yesterday, down again for much of the early part of the third. Around halfway through the period, Fleury made a huge save on an Evangelista breakaway to keep it tied. A few minutes after that, when intercepted a Nashville pass, Saros wasn’t able to do the same on a Ryan Hartman breakaway.

The Wild took the lead at 12:28, and the Preds weren’t initially able to get it back. With Saros pulled for the extra attacker, Eriksson Ek hooked Forsberg and the Preds got the chance for a two-skater advantage. O’Reilly made up for his earlier penalty by tying the game back up at 17:56, before Saros had even made it to the bench.

While the Wild fought to end it in regulation, they weren’t able to, and the game headed to overtime. Forsberg hit the post with just over two minutes elapsed, and Gus Nyquist got a good chance of his own as well, before Fleury headed off for an extra attacker again–an incredibly bold move that worked out, as Matt Boldy scored almost immediately.

If the Preds had managed to score into the empty net, the Wild would have forfeited the OT loss point, but John Hynes clearly felt it was worth the risk for his team, and so indeed it was.

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