It’s gameday State of Hockey Legion!
It’s also National Pizza Day, and the Wild is going to make a country pie out of the Nashville Pepperonis, also known as the Predators. First the club will knead the dough (work the forecheck); lay down some tasty marinara (sauce passes); sprinkle in a little mozzarella (get shots on goal); cover the pie with toppings (play good defense); pop that sucker in the oven (score some goals); and then chow down (big win).
The Wild is switching a few of its line combinations reuniting Devin Setoguchi and Dany Heatley, who go together like ham and pineapple, with Mikael Granlund. The third line will be composed of Matt Cullen, Kyle Brodziak and Cal Clutterbuck. Pierre-Marc Bouchard will join Mike Rupp and Zenon Konopka on the fourth line. The top line of Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu and Charlie Coyle will remain the same.
Defenseman Nate Prosser is back in the lineup and replaces Marco Scandella, who will be a healthy scratch. Joining Scandella in the press box, as healthy scratches, are Matt Kassian and Torrey Mitchell. Jared Spurgeon is on Injured Reserve with a lower body injury.
Niklas Backstrom will get the start in goal. After being replaced on Thursday, he’ll look to rebound with a big game. Lifetime, Backstrom is 18-2-4, with a 1.95 goals against average, and .930 save percentage. Since March 26, 2008, he is 14-0-2, with a 1.79 goals against average and .939 save percentage.
The Wild is looking sharp in its third green jersey with diagonal “Minnesota” print, while the Preds wear its road whites with saber tooth head logo.
As always, follow along with the action at @mnwildLIVE.
Let’s roll this sucker!
Period 1 - MIN 0, NSH 1
After the Wild had several chances, it was Nashville that got on the board first.
On the forecheck, Craig Smith bullied his way to the front of the net and fired a shot on Backstrom. He gave the rebound a whack, but the Wild netminder kept that attempt out, too. However, Paul Gaustad was stationed out front and slipped it past Backstrom.
Period 2 - MIN 1, NSH 1
The Wild put together another solid period and was finally rewarded for its efforts.
Cal Clutterbuck was in on the forecheck and took a hard hit from Weber, but jarred the puck loose to Matt Cullen. The cagey veteran found Ryan Suter at the point. The D-man took a step to the middle of the ice to improve his angle and fired a shot on goal. Clutterbuck got up from the hit and dashed to the front of the net, tipping home his second goal of the season.
The Wild again outshot the Preds in that period, 9-7. Minnesota will come back with a 53 second power play to start the third and look to close out a W.
The Wild had its best chance of the period with just under a minute remaining. Ryan Suter and Dany Heatley played give-and-go resulting in a Heatley one-timer. Mason made the save, but kicked out a tasty rebound. Setoguchi was driving the net, but couldn't put it into the empty cage, brushing the puck just wide.
Wild outshot the Preds 10-6 and look to capitalize on its chances in the second. I feel it coming.
Period 3 - MIN 1 NSH 1
No scoring to report that period, with both sides generating ample scoring chances. Goaltenders Niklas Backstrom and Chris Mason went into shutdown mode. Backstrom made 12 saves in the frame, while his counterpart made eight.
Overtime - MIN 2, NSH 1
Devin Setoguchi was buzzing all game and finally broke through. He scored a one-time blast on the power play to give the Wild its first win in three games. Assists go to Koivu and Suter. BIG WIN.
We'll see you all back here on Monday as the Wild travels to Calgary to take on the Flames.