St. Paul, MN – Martin Erat scored the game-winner just after the midway point of the third period, and Chris Mason stopped 29 shots as the Nashville Predators claimed a 3-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center.
Nick Spaling and David Legwand also tallied for the Predators, who snapped a two-game slide to begin the season.
"We had a little bit of a slow start, but as the game went on we started to get better and better," said Spaling. "We just have to work on putting a full game together."
Dany Heatley provided the lone score for the Wild, as Minnesota's two-game win streak came to a halt. Niklas Backstrom made 23 saves in defeat.
Erat's deciding score came during a 4-on-4. Backstrom moved to try and clear the puck up the right-wing side, but the veteran was able to swoop in, snag the disc, and slide a backhander home for a 2-1 lead with 8:15 remaining in regulation.
"I don't know if I would do it different because I got to the puck first. I just have to beat him getting it to the outside," Backstrom said about the play.
Backstrom was pulled for an extra skater inside the final minute, but a Minnesota comeback was thwarted when Pierre-Marc Bouchard was whistled for slashing with 24 seconds to play.
Legwand then tallied seven seconds later to seal it for the visitors.
Heatley opened the scoring for the hosts just after the six-minute mark of the first period when his long shot sailed through traffic and past Mason. Spaling equalized for the visitors with 3 1/2 minutes left in the period, picking up the rebound of a Kevin Klein point drive.
Nashville has won seven of the last nine meetings with Minnesota, including three of four a season ago ... Zach Parise has four points (1G, 3A) in his first three games for the Wild.