NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Nashville coach Barry Trotz watched Tomas Vokoun
save yet another game for the Predators, then made his plea: Make his goalie an
Vokoun stopped 26 shots and Nashville extended its unbeaten streak to seven
games, beating the Minnesota Wild 2-0 Monday night. It was Vokoun's second
shutout and 21st victory this season, tying him with David Aebischer of
Colorado for the NHL lead.
"That's why he should be (in) the All-Star game," Trotz said. "He was
just outstanding. He saw the puck. He was sharp. I don't think they would've
got a BB by him."
Vladimir Orszagh scored a short-handed goal in the second period for the
Predators, who won for the fifth time during their current string. They have
not lost in 10 straight home games, and his teammates credit Vokoun.
"He's going to keep us in games, and it's so easy for us with a guy like
that," Orszagh said.
Vokoun took over as Nashville's goalie after Mike Dunham was traded to the
New York Rangers in December 2002. Vokoun has played in 95 of 101 games since,
and he is 18-9-3 over his last 30 starts. He has allowed one goal in the past
two games, but he deflected any praise for his play.
"It doesn't matter who gets the win or who scores the goal. We're winning,
and that's most important," he said.
Vokoun withstood an early flurry as the Wild took 18 shots in the first 27
minutes. He stopped Kyle Wanvig's shot right in front of the net in the first
period, and stopped eight shots in the first seven minutes of the second,
including one that slid across the crease before bouncing away off Mark Eaton's
"He saved me a goal," Vokoun said of Eaton. "The game's broken down into
a few moments, and that was a key moment for us."
The Nashville defense limited Minnesota to just eight shots down the stretch
as the Predators outshot the Wild 30-26 for the game.
"It's never fun when you have big games like that and you don't score a
goal," Minnesota forward Pascal Dupuis said. "Manny (Fernandez) played great
for us tonight. We've got to score some goals if we want to win."
Minnesota coach Jacques Lemaire said his team had its chances. But the man
whose team rode its own streak into the Western Conference finals last season,
said things are opening up now for Nashville.
"When a team is hot and they believe, that's what happens," Lemaire said.
Nashville, which came in third in the NHL in short-handed goals, went on the
offensive again 35 seconds after the Wild went on their third and final power
Scott Walker skated past Fernandez and behind the net before his backhander
went off the right post. Sergei Zholtok cleared the puck from the crease, but
Orszagh was right there and scored easily over a sprawled-out Fernandez at
10:26 of the second for a 1-0 lead and Nashville's ninth such goal this season.
Martin Erat gave Vokoun a 2-0 cushion with his 10th of the season at 2:50 of
the third. Fernandez blocked a shot by Jamie Allison near the blue line, but
Erat skated up through the right circle and wristed the rebound under
Fernandez's left leg.