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Wild continue to roll at home, shut out Predators

by Dan Myers /

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- After battling injury and illness on the road, the Minnesota Wild were in desperate need of some home cooking.

Playing without forwards Zach Parise and Justin Fontaine and defenseman Marco Scandella, the Wild celebrated the beginning of a four-game homestand with a 4-0 win against the Nashville Predators at Xcel Energy Center on Saturday.

The win ended a three-game losing streak for the Wild, who capped a four-game road trip with back-to-back regulation losses for the first time this season.

"We hadn't been playing well on the road. We knew we had to come home and get this thing turned around quick," Wild defenseman Ryan Suter said. "I thought we did that and we finally played 60 minutes. Power play was good, penalty kill was good, goalie was good. Now we have to build on it."

Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk made 23 saves for his third shutout, tied with three others for most in the NHL. His 11 wins are tied with Martin Jones of the San Jose Sharks for the League lead.

Minnesota (11-5-3) scored first for the first time in five games after falling behind in every game of its trip, which the Wild finished 1-2-1.

"As soon as that went in, that was a lot of relief for our team," Suter said. "We've been chasing and I think that's what's taken from our structure and the way we're used to playing."

Nashville (11-5-3) was shut out for the second time in as many nights; it lost 4-0 against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday. It was the first time since Nov. 2013 that the Predators were held scoreless in consecutive games.

"Same score, but two different games. [Friday] night, we had an awful lot of quality scoring chances, we just didn't score. Tonight was a different story," Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. "They defended pretty good. We didn't seem to be in synch and have our jump to us, certainly not like last night."

Suter, Mikael Granlund, Jonas Brodin and Thomas Vanek scored for Minnesota, which is 8-1-0 at home.

"We knew that coming back home would energize us," Wild coach Mike Yeo said. "But we also said that coming back home wasn't going to solve everything. I saw a lot more purpose in a lot more of the little things that have been ailing us."

Suter's goal at 6:53 of the first period made it through a screen by Vanek in front and was his third, surpassing his total from all of last season. It was his first goal against his former team in his 15th game against Nashville since signing with the Wild as a free agent in July of 2012.

Granlund made it a two-goal game at 1:44 of the second, capitalizing on a rebound of a shot by defenseman Christian Folin.

Less than seven minutes later, Brodin's shot from the left circle made it through traffic for his first of the season at 8:06.

"We just didn't play good enough to win tonight," said Predators defenseman Shea Weber. "We weren't hungry enough, we're not getting to the interior of the ice. It's not easy against this team, but we just have to do a better job."

Vanek scored early in the third period after a tripping penalty on Ryan Ellis put the Wild on a power play. His redirection of a Jason Pominville pass slipped through Pekka Rinne's five-hole and sat in the crease. Rinne didn't see the puck slip through and Vanek swept it into the goal for his team-leading eighth of the season.

"We talked about playing good hockey right off the bat. I think that was one of our most complete games," Vanek said. "I felt great today, it was one of those nights where I wanted the puck a lot. I felt I was making things happen, making plays."

Pominville finished with two assists. Mikko Koivu, playing in his 700th NHL game, had an assist.

Rinne made 23 saves but lost consecutive starts for the first time this season.

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