RW Nino Niederreiter scored his first career game-winning goal, with 2:44 left in overtime to lead Minnesota to a 3-2 overtime win against Nashville in front of a sellout crowd of 18,766 fans Thursday night at Xcel Energy Center. D Jonas Brodin and LW Zach Parise scored for Minnesota in regulation, while G Darcy Kuemper made 16 saves to earn the win. Minnesota heads to the Olympic break and will next play in Edmonton to start a two-game road trip on Tuesday, Feb. 27 at 8:30 p.m. CT on FOX Sports North and KFAN 100.3 FM.
The Wild won its fifth straight game in Saint Paul, moving to 21-7-2 at home this season. It’s won 17 of its last 23 games and 21 of its last 28 contests on home ice. Minnesota has also earned points in eight of its last 10 games overall (6-2-2) and is 11-4-2 in 2014.
Minnesota and Nashville have played in one-goal games in 21 of their 51 all-time meetings, including eight of the last 11 contests. The Wild played past regulation for the 15th time this season, moving to 2-3 in overtime.
With Nashville’s first goal 5:50 into the game, Minnesota’s shutout streak versus the Predators ended at 174:36 – dating back to the first period of a 3-2 loss at Nashville on Oct. 8, when Eric Nystrom scored on a penalty shot. It’s the third-longest shutout streak versus a single opponent in Wild history.
RW Nino Niederreiter scored his first career game-winning goal and tallied an assist on Brodin’s marker to earn his fourth career multi-point game, all this season. He has 12 points (5-7=12) and a plus-6 rating in his last 19 games and has totaled 29 points (11-18=29) in 59 games this season.
LW Zach Parise netted his 10th power-play goal, T-3rd in the NHL, and his 19th goal overall this season. He has nine points (4-5=9) since returning to the lineup Jan. 23. Despite missing 15 games to injury, he ranks second on the Wild with 36 points (19-17=36).
D Jonas Brodin netted his eighth goal of the season and first since Dec. 29. He now has 16 points (8-8=16) in 56 games.
LW Dany Heatley tallied the primary assist on Parise’s goal to stretch his point streak to a season-best four games (2-3=5). He has 24 points (11-13=24) in 59 games this season.
RW Jason Pominville earned an assist on Parise’s goal, tallying seven points (3-4=7) in his last seven games. He leads Minnesota with both 22 goals and 40 points this season, including 23 points (9-14=23) in the last 32 games.
G Darcy Kuemper stopped 16-of-18 shots, moving to 8-3-2 this season. He made his 12th consecutive start, a franchise record for most consecutive games played by a rookie goalie (previously four).
D Ryan Suter skated 35:11 of ice time, his fourth game over 35:00 of his career – all this season. He’s hit 30:00 TOI in five of the last six games, 15 of the last 26 contests and 29 games this season. He also has 33 points (6-27=33) this season, leading the Wild with 96 blocked shots, including two tonight.
D Jared Spurgeon assisted on Niederreiter’s game winner and has three helpers in two games since returning to the lineup. He missed 14 games with a lower-body injury and has 15 points (1-14=15) in 45 games.
The Wild wore its new home white jerseys for just the second time at Xcel Energy Center. Minnesota also wore its new away sweaters in Saint Paul on Oct. 28 in a 5-1 loss to the Blackhawks.
Five Wild players have been named to 2014 Olympic rosters: LW Zach Parise will captain Team USA while D Ryan Suter will serve as an alternate captain. RW Nino Niederreiter will skate for Switzerland and C Mikael Granlund and C Mikko Koivu will play for Finland. It will be Koivu's third trip to the Olympics, Parise and Suter's second time representing Team USA, and Granlund and Niederreiter's first Olympics. Men’s Ice Hockey begins play in Sochi on Feb. 12.
C Craig Smith scored twice for Nashville, while G Carter Hutton made 33 saves for the Predators.