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Postgame Hat Trick: Predators 4, Wild 0

Nashville scores timely second-period goals in win Thursday at Bridgestone Arena

by Dan Myers @mnwildscribe /'s Dan Myers gives three takeaways from the Wild's 4-0 loss against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville on Thursday night:

1. The Wild fell victim to the old hockey adage about scoring in the first and last minutes of a period.

It happened twice on Thursday, when Miikka Salomaki scored the opening goal of the game just 37 seconds into the second period. It was a real shame for Minnesota, which had a stellar first period, but couldn't find the scoresheet.

The Wild steadied itself and played a strong defensive game for much of the rest of the period, one that was played largely through the middle of the ice. Minnesota had just one shot on goal over the final 11 minutes of the second and none in the last six minutes. 

It appeared things would go to the third with Minnesota down just a goal, but Calle Jarnkrok made it 2-0 with 29 seconds remaining before intermission, firing a wrist shot over Alex Stalock's glove.

The goal against made for an uphill climb in the third, one the Wild couldn't muster.

2. Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne was outstanding, especially early.

When the Wild and Preds opened the season here three weeks ago, it was Nashville that came out firing, putting each of the first nine shots on goal in the game and putting the Wild on its heels early.

It was the opposite this time around, as Minnesota was outshooting Nashville 8-1 at one point and finishing the opening frame with a 13-4 advantage in shots overall.

Unfortunately for the Wild, that didn't translate on the scoreboard, as Rinne was there at every turn, denying several grade-A chances along the way.

Among the victims were Jason Zucker, who had a partial break that Rinne closed down in a hurry, Gabriel Dumont on a nifty redirection, as well as Mikko Koivu and Mats Zuccarello on what would have been the first goals of the season for the two vets.

For Rinne, it was the 10th time in 20 starts against the Wild at Bridgestone Arena that he held it to one goal or fewer.

3. The loss ended Minnesota's two-game winning trend.

The Wild was also without forwards Jordan Greenway (sick) and goaltender Devan Dubnyk, who did not make the trip. Victor Rask returned to the lineup after missing the past two games with a lower-body injury. 

Following wins at home against Montreal and Edmonton, Minnesota was unable to run its streak to three games, but will get a chance to start anew Saturday night back in St. Paul when it hosts the Los Angeles Kings. 

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