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game recap

Eric Staal sparks Wild to sixth win in row

Scores two goals, Devan Dubnyk makes 34 saves against Predators

by Robby Stanley / NHL.com Correspondent

NASHVILLE -- Eric Staal scored two goals in a 5-2 win for the Minnesota Wild against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena on Thursday.

The Wild (17-8-4) extended their winning streak to six and goaltender Devan Dubnyk improved to 8-0-2 in his past 10 games. He finished with 34 saves.

"We just want to continue to build our game," Dubnyk said. "It's not just one game because we play again in a day and a half so we're just trying to build on what things we're doing well and continue to roll." 

The Predators (13-12-4) dropped to 10-3-2 at home. 

 

WATCH: All Wild vs. Predators highlights

 

"It was the way [the first period] ended," Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. "I mean, we'll go back and look at this, we probably played 50 to 55 minutes that we really liked. They probably had 10 chances. They got four in the last two minutes of the first period and three in the last two minutes of the second period and not a lot more than that. It did us in." 

Jonas Brodin gave the Wild a 1-0 lead at 10:20 of the first period on the power play on a wrist shot from the slot. He got the shot through traffic past Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne for his third goal. 

"[Rinne] is a stud back there," Wild defenseman Ryan Suter said. "He's a very good goaltender so just put a lot of traffic, a lot of pucks at him. We were able to get some early, which really helped us." 

Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis tied the game at 1-1 at 12:04 on a shot from above the right faceoff circle. Forward Colin Wilson made the pass to Ellis, who beat Dubnyk for his fourth goal.

Video: MIN@NSH: Ellis fires one-timer top shelf past Dubnyk

Charlie Coyle gave the Wild a 2-1 lead at 18:37 on a rebound. Forward Nino Niederreiter took the original shot, and Coyle, playing in his 300th NHL game, shot the rebound past Rinne for his 10th goal. 

Staal made it 3-1 29 seconds later. Niederreiter won a battle for the puck behind the net, passed to Staal alone in the slot and he beat Rinne for his eighth goal.

"We're just trying to keep this going," Staal said. "You never want to give anyone anything back. We had a good first period and really set the tone, and I think from there maybe not as sharp, but you've got to find ways to win. It wasn't the prettiest tonight, but we've got a solid team and a great goalie right now." 

Predators forward Mike Fisher made it 3-2 at 8:55 of the second period on the power play. Forward James Neal sent a pass to Fisher, who one-timed the shot from the crease for his eighth goal. 

"We're giving up too many real good scoring chances, and that's what killed us tonight," Fisher said. "We knew that coming in. We did get our fair share of chances, but we've got to be better defensively."

Staal (19:04) and Mikael Granlund (19:39) scored empty-net goals.

Video: MIN@NSH: Staal scores an empty-netter for second goal

 

Goal of the game

Brodin's goal came from the slot as Rinne was being screened in front. Brodin shot the puck through traffic and beat Rinne high on the glove side. 

Video: MIN@NSH: Brodin buries PPG to open the scoring

 

Save of the game 

Dubnyk made a save on Predators forward Ryan Johansen during a power play in the third period to preserve a 3-2 lead. Johansen connected on a one-timer from the left faceoff circle, and Dubnyk got across the crease and made a blocker save.

Video: MIN@NSH: Dubnyk slides across crease to rob Johansen

 

Unsung performance of the game 

Niederreiter assisted on two goals in the first period, including Staal's first goal that gave the Wild a 3-1 lead. He beat two defenders to the puck and pushed the pass by them to set up Staal.

 

Highlight of the game

Coyle's goal came as a result of him driving to the net and getting to a rebound before Rinne could react. 

Video: MIN@NSH: Coyle scores in 300th game

 

They said it

"They're not all Picasso's, right? The two points was very important, and to come out of there with that win, it probably frustrated them a little bit. We weren't at our best, but our goalie was." - Wild coach Bruce Boudreau

 

Need to know

Dubnyk has given up two goals or fewer in 19 of 24 starts this season, including in each of his past seven games. … Fisher has three goals in his past two games and has scored six of his eight goals this season at home.

Video: MIN@NSH: Fisher taps puck in for smooth PPG

 

What's next

Wild: Host the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday (2 p.m. ET; FS-A PLUS, FS-N, FS-WI, NHL.TV)

Predators: Host the New York Rangers on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; MSG 2, FS-TN, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Dubnyk records 34 saves, Staal nets two in 5-2 win

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