Friday, November 26, 2010

Wild Use Rare Burst of Goals to Down Predators

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Martin Havlat scored twice and added an assist as the Minnesota Wild took a 5-2 win over the Nashville Predators at Xcel Energy Center.

Marek Zidlicky had a goal and two assists while Andrew Brunette and Nick Schultz each lit the lamp for the Wild, who had dropped their past two games. Jose Theodore stopped 32 shots in the win.

"When you take a 3-0 lead in the first period it takes a lot of pressure off of you as a goalie," said Theodore. "It helps you to relax back there and allows you to focus on what you have to do to keep them from coming back in the game."

Martin Erat and Steve Sullivan each had a power-play goal for the Predators, who have dropped their past three. Pekka Rinne started in net, but was pulled after the first period as he gave up three goals on nine shots. Anders Lindback stopped 12-of-14 shots the rest of the way.

"We had a few chances early on, but they didn't go in and they just got on a roll there," said Sullivan. "They got the one, then another one and kept coming at us. When you go down that deep on the road you're not going to win."

The Wild scored three times over a 5:50 span in the first period to take command of the game.

The first goal came at the 12:22 mark of the first period as Zidlicky skated from the right corner to the side and attempted a pass that went off the side of the net. He grabbed the loose puck, though, and shot it past Rinne for his third goal of the year.

About 3 1/2 minutes later, Minnesota took a 2-0 lead when Brunette's second crack at the rebound in front sailed over a prone Rinne for his fourth goal of the season.

It was a 3-0 game with 1:48 left in the first as Havlat made a power move to the front of the net from the right wing and slid a forehand shot past Rinne.

Lindback came on in the second in relief of Rinne, but Minnesota got to him just 48 seconds in as Havlat blasted a big shot from the slot during the rush and the rebound kicked out to the left side where Schultz wristed home the rebound.

Sullivan scored on the man advantage just 3:55 into the third to get Nashville on the board, but Havlat netted his second of the game with 5:58 to play.

Erat scored inside the final minute of the game to account for the final score.

Game Notes
Minnesota, which improved to 7-5-1 at home, plays in Colorado on Saturday.

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