Cullen’s Shootout Goal Lifts Wild Over Predators 2-1
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Matt Cullen scored the shootout-winning goal to give the Minnesota Wild a 2-1 victory over the Nashville Predators on Saturday night.
The Wild, who have won two of three, sent Nashville to its fourth loss in five games.
Cullen and Wild captain Mikko Koivu both scored in the shootout. Craig Smith was the only Nashville shooter to score in the tiebreaker against Niklas Backstrom.
Zach Parise gave the Wild a 1-0 lead in the second period. David Legwand tied it for Nashville in the third.
Parise gave Minnesota its 1-0 lead at 9:01 of the second with a power-play goal.
Former Predators defenseman Ryan Suter sent a shot toward the Nashville net from the middle of the blue line. Standing just to the left of goalie Pekka Rinne and with his stick about waist high, Parise got enough of the puck to tip it over Rinne’s glove for his ninth goal.
Minnesota has scored a power-play goal in three consecutive games for the first time this season.
The visit by the Wild was Suter’s first return to Nashville since leaving the Predators. Suter played his first seven NHL seasons with Nashville, the team that chose him with the No. 7 pick in the 2003 draft.
Suter and Parise signed identical 13-year, $98 million contracts with Minnesota on July 4.
Nashville managed to earn a point in this game after Legwand tied it with a power-play goal at 6:28 of the third.
With Suter serving a roughing penalty, Predators captain Shea Weber sent a pass to Sergei Kostitsyn on the left side. Kostitsyn then slid a cross-ice pass to Legwand for a shot that sailed over Backstrom’s glove.
Backstrom made 24 saves through overtime. Rinne stopped 28 shots before the shootout.
For the second time in two nights, the Predators sustained an injury to a forward. This time it was leading scorer Colin Wilson.
Early in the second period, Wilson was checked hard into the end boards in the Minnesota zone by defenseman Justin Falk. Wilson left the game and didn’t return because of an upper body injury.
Wilson leads the Predators with seven goals and 12 assists.
On Friday, the Predators lost forward Patric Hornqvist to an upper body injury. There is no timetable for his return.
Hornqvist led the Predators in goals in two of the previous three seasons.
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