Zucker scores 30th goal as Wild top Predators 4-1
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Devan Dubnyk stopped 19 shots and Jason Zucker scored his 30th goal and added an assist to lead the Minnesota Wild past the Nashville Predators 4-1 on Saturday night.
Joel Eriksson Ek, Nino Niederreiter and Zach Parise also scored for the Wild, who overcame a slow first period to outwork the West’s top team and hand the Predators their second straight loss. After taking only six shots in the opening period, the Wild offense outshot Nashville 24-11 the rest of the way to start a crucial stretch of three games in four days.
Pekka Rinne had 26 saves and Ryan Johansen scored his 13th goal for Nashville, which couldn’t rebound from a loss at home to Toronto on Thursday that snapped a four-game win streak and franchise-record 15-game point streak.
The Predators, who also saw their franchise-record nine-game road winning streak stopped, hadn’t lost two straight since mid-February — right before they rolled to 10 straight victories en route to securing a playoff spot.
Nashville nursed a 1-0 lead after Johansen’s goal at the 8:37 mark of the first period. But things changed quickly after the first — Minnesota outshot Nashville 14-5 in a second period that saw Eriksson Ek’s fifth goal of the season, followed by Niederreiter’s 18th at 13:45.
Zucker beat Rinne’s glove side at 1:29 of the third period to give Minnesota some breathing room, and Parise added an empty-netter with 1:41 to play.
Predators coach Peter Laviolette was ejected late in the third period shortly after arguing a boarding call against Scott Hartnell.
NOTES: Wild coach Bruce Boudreau got his 500th career win. … Nashville D Yannick Weber left the ice seven minutes into the first period after taking a crushing hit from Marcus Foligno. He did not return to the bench. … C Mike Fisher was a healthy scratch. … The Predators lost for the fourth time in regulation this season when scoring first, and for only the third time when leading after the first period. … Nashville’s last regulation road loss was Jan. 2 at Las Vegas. … Zucker joined Eric Staal (39) in Minnesota’s 30-goal club this season. It’s the first time in 10 years Minnesota has had two 30-goal scorers. … The Wild have beaten Nashville four straight times in St. Paul since Feb. 18, 2017. … Foligno’s assist on Eriksson’s goal was his 23rd point this season, tying his career high.
Predators: At Winnipeg on Sunday.
Wild: Host Boston on Sunday.