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game recap

Fiala scores again for Wild in win against Predators

Has goal in five straight games for Minnesota, which keeps pace in wild card

by Jessi Pierce / Independent Correspondent

Fiala's gorgeous goal

NSH@MIN: Fiala toe drags, scores fantastic goal

Kevin Fiala toe drags the puck around a defenseman and beats Juuse Saros top shelf to increase the Wild's lead to 2-0 in the 1st period

  • 00:37 •

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Kevin Fiala scored for the fifth straight game, and the Minnesota Wild defeated the Nashville Predators 3-1 at Xcel Energy Center on Tuesday.

Fiala also had an assist to extend his multipoint streak to five games (five goals, six assists).

"I don't plan to play bad, you know?" Fiala said. "My plan is to keep going like this."


[WATCH: All Predators vs. Wild highlights]


Alex Stalock made 37 saves for Minnesota (33-26-7), which has won six of its past eight games and moved within one point of the Vancouver Canucks and Winnipeg Jets in the Western Conference wild-card race.

Video: NSH@MIN: Kunin gives Wild early lead

Craig Smith scored, and Juuse Saros made 30 saves for Nashville (32-26-8), which was coming off an 8-3 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Monday and trails the Canucks and Jets by two points.

"We did have a push at the end, but the first period wasn't good at all," Predators captain Roman Josi said. "They were a better team, got off quick. In the third we made a push but took too many penalties … and it's hard to come back from a two-goal deficit. 

"We didn't win and we need points right now, so we got to be better." 

Luke Kunin, who missed the previous five games because of an upper-body injury, scored off his own rebound in front to give the Wild a 1-0 lead at 4:07 of the first period.

Fiala made it 2-0 at 12:04, skating in on a 2-on-1 before toe-dragging Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis and scoring short side top shelf.

"Fiala's got up for every game as of late," Wild coach Dean Evason said. "I scored six goals a year, so I have no idea (how he does it). It's incredible, it really is. His hands, his vision. He's clearly feeling it."

Zach Parise pushed the lead to 3-0 at 1:38 of the third period when he got to a loose puck at the right post. Parise has six points (three goals, three assists) during a four-game point streak.

Smith cut it to 3-1 at 5:07 with a power-play goal after he gloved down a rebound in the slot and shot over Stalock's glove.

"In my opinion, we outskated them, we outcompeted them," Fiala said. "They got a little life after their goal, that's just how it is. I feel if we play like this, we're going to be dangerous."

Video: NSH@MIN: Parise slams loose puck past Saros


They said it

"The way the race is going, this is going to be something that will go right down to the wire. The way that we played the last two nights, they were not good enough to win. We need to take a day tomorrow, and we need to regroup and we got to dig." -- Predators coach John Hynes

"The way we're playing, it feels great, but it starts with the group. It's contagious. I think the lightness we have in the room, we're not tight, we're not griping our sticks, we're going out and having fun, and I think it goes a long way." -- Wild goalie Alex Stalock 


Need to know

Josi had an assist to extend his point streak to four games (two goals, three assists). … The Predators played without forward Ryan Johansen (illness) and defenseman Dan Hamhuis (lower body). … It was Minnesota's first win against Nashville since March 24, 2018 (1-4-3). … Fiala has 23 points (12 goals, 11 assists) in his past 15 games. … Stalock has made five straight starts, going 4-1-0 with a 2.01 goals-against average and a .932 save percentage in that span.


What's next

Predators: Host the Dallas Stars on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; ESPN+, FS-TN, FS-SW, NHL.TV)

Wild: At the San Jose Sharks on Thursday (10:30 p.m. ET; NBCSCA, FS-N, FS-WI, NHL.TV)

Video: Fiala, Stalock power Wild past Predators

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