The Minnesota Wild built a three-goal lead as they combined with the Nashville Predators for 30 penalty minutes in the second period. The Wild finished off a clean third period for a 4-0 victory.
The two teams had three skirmishes (two fights and a grappling match), including two that began after the whistle blew. The first bout started with a cross checking following a check by Eric Nystrom, who spent one season plus a preseason with the Wild, to the chin of Christian Folin just under six minutes into the middle frame.
Nearly four minutes later, Nate Prosser dropped the gloves with James Neal after Devan Dubnyk forced a whistle. The last time the Predators (11-5-3) came to the Xcel Energy Center, it was Neal that hit Zach Parise leaving the Wild forward with a sprained knee. This time he gave Prosser a bloody nose as the Wild’s defenseman either hit the ice or extra punch the Predators forward threw while they were down.
Just seven seconds after that Erik Haula and Calle Jarnkrok got into a wrestling match. Neither player dropped their gloves and were given two minute roughing penalties. Haula was assessed an extra two for unsportsmanlike conduct. It was the first of just two Predators power plays.
The Wild (11-5-3) scored first after a feeling out period to open the game. Ryan Suter fired a through traffic and a screen from Thomas Vanek past Pekka Rinne at the 13:07 mark of the first period. Vanek got the second by sending a pass to Mikael Granlund after getting robbed by Rinne at the side of the net while on the game’s first power play.
Granlund extended the lead to 2-0 one minute and 44 seconds into the second period by shooting a rebound into a wide open net behind Rinne. Folin and Jason Pominville worked a perfect rush to create a shot and rebound for Granlund. Pominville stopped inside the blue line and sent a cross ice pass Folin. Folin’s shot was low and forced Rinne to kick the puck back in the slot to Granlund.
Shortly before a few of the skirmishes started, the Wild took a three-goal lead when Jonas Brodin beat Rinne for his first tally of the season. Brodin’s shot somehow got through Austin Watson and past Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm and Vanek before beating Rinne.
Vanek finally got one past Rinne to cap the scoring two minutes and 28 seconds into the third period with the man advantage. Vanek tipped a shot-pass from Pominville into Rinne, but the puck squeezed out behind the Predators goaltender and Vanek tapped it in. The Wild finished the game 2-for-4 on the power play
No. 3 – Mikael Granlund. The Wild forward had a goal and an assist.
No. 2 – Ryan Suter. The Wild defenseman scored a goal and added two assists.
No. 1 – Thomas Vanek. The Wild forward recorded a goal and an assist.
Nashville…..…0 0 0 – 0
Minnesota……1 2 1 – 4
First Period – 1, Minnesota, Suter 3 (Granlund, Vanek), 13:07 (pp). Penalties – Josi, NSH (tripping), 12:15.
Second Period – 2, Minnesota, Granlund 3 (Folin, Pominville), 1:44. 3, Minnesota, Brodin 1 (Suter, Koivu), 8:06. Penalties – Nystrom, NSH, major (fighting), 5:53; Nystrom, NSH (cross checking; served by Hodgson), 5:53; Folin, MIN, major (fighting), 5:53; Neal, NSH, major (fighting), 9:31; Prosser, MIN, major (fighting), 9:31; Jarnkrok, NSH (roughing), 9:38; Haula, MIN (roughing), 9:38; Haula, MIN (unsportsmanlike conduct; served by Bulmer), 9:38; Jackman, NSH (cross checking), 16:10.
Third Period – 4, Minnesota, Vanek 8 (Pominville, Suter), 2:28 (pp). Penalties – Ellis, NSH (tripping), 1:21; Ribeiro, NSH, misconduct (10-minute), 1:21; Granlund, MIN (interference), 11:10.
Shots on goal – Nashville 10-8-5 23. Minnesota 8-14-5 27.
Goalies – Nashville, Rinne (23-27). Minnesota, Dubnyk (23-23). Referees – Dan O’Halloran, Kelly Sutherland. Linesmen – Brad Kovachik, Bryan Pancich.