The Nashville Predators showed signs of life in Minnesota on Wednesday, defeating the Wild 4-3 in a game that included uneven play by both teams. Both teams have had disappointing starts that placed them in almost a "must win" situation.
Nashville got on the scoreboard first at 2:36 on a goal by J. P. Dumont. They made it 2-0 three minutes later on a Shea Weber power play goal. The first period ended with the Preds up 2-0 with each team having seven shots.
The second period was really hard to figure. The Wild scored three goals on three shots in the first 2:18 of action to go ahead 3-2. After Pekka Rinne replaced starter Dan Ellis, the Wild had only one shot for the rest of the period.
The Pred's only score in the second stanza was on a shot by Joel Ward that went in the net off Mike Santorelli's skate for Santo's first NHL goal at 6:44 to bring the game back to 3-3.
The third period was fairly evenly matched with the pace picking up and better skating an hitting by both teams. The Preds were held to zero shots until Jerred Smithson picked up a puck on a mis-handle my Marek Zidlicky to score a short-handed goal at 10:44 in the period.
From that point on, the Predators defense stiffened and Pekka Rinne completed his prefect 37:42 in goal stopping all 12 Minnesota shots that he faced.
Aside from the the three goal spree against Dan Ellis at the start of the second period, the Predators played one of their better games of the season. That brief meltdown is very disconcerting as this is similar to several other similar runs by opponents earlier this season.
This type of win may be exactly what the Predators needed to kick start their season as they return home for games on Thursday against Chicago and Saturday against Dallas before heading out West for a four game road trip. This game will be considered a turning point if the Predators can parlay the momentum of this road win into a few more wins in the next couple of weeks.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass