Nashville Predators 4, Minnesota Wild 3 (OT): Youth continue to shine
Welcome back, Juuso Pärssinen.
The Nashville Predators and Minnesota Wild--both missing a lot of players, in Nashville's case due to the ongoing injuries and in Minnesota's due to pre-playoff rest--faced off tonight in Bridgestone.
The game started slow, with Nashville getting the better of the puck possession early, before Cal Foote took a penalty at 7:07. The Preds jumped on the penalty kill, getting the puck early and hanging on, before Mark Jankowski collected a great pass from Tyson Barrie and put a nice shot of his own past Wild goalie Filip Gustavsson at 8:02. While they yielded the puck after that, they managed not to yield a goal.
Nashville then got a chance of their own on the power play when Kiefer Sherwood got hit. Although the power play looked good, keeping in motion and forcing Gustavsson to work, they were unable to convert.
The Wild got it back at 14:19, as Freddy Gaudreau benefited from a clever fakeout play and tied the game. Tommy Novak set Sherwood up to get it back two minutes later exactly, restoring the Preds' lead, and then drew a penalty seconds later. This power play looked a little less energized than the first.
Minnesota hit a post with under a minute in the game, close enough to in that one of the refs had to wave off a potential goal, and Nashville counterattacked with enthusiasm, peppering Gustavsson with chances as the period ended.
The Preds got out to a good start to the second as well, recovering from a brief stint in their own end to bury the Wild in theirs. However, the next goal was scored by Gaudreau again, immediately after the delayed penalty when--and, really, because--Tyson Barrie lost his stick hooking a Wild player.
Nashville got another chance on the power play, but again the Wild's penalty kill was up to the task. The Wild finished the period with a push of their own, and came out strong to start the third. The Preds began to lose discipline as the period went on, committing several turnovers.
With 5:56 remaining, Yakov Trenin and Juuso Pärssinen completed a 2-on-0 play during a Minnesota line change, allowing Trenin to restore the Preds' lead. Nic Petan, however, tied it back up for the Wild just 16 seconds later at 14:20. Neither team was able to score again in regulation, and they headed to OT.
After some back-and-forth, Pärssinen made a strong effort and notched his second of the game.