Published January 08, 2015
St. Paul, MN (SportsNetwork.com) - Mattias Ekholm scored the game-winning goal 1:45 into overtime to lift the Nashville Predators to a 6-5 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Saturday.
An extra session was needed after Minnesota pulled its netminder and Thomas Vanek tied the game with 47.8 seconds remaining. The Predators, however, did not let the two points slip away.
Ekholm battled along the boards behind the Minnesota net, emerged with the puck and scored off a wrister from the right circle for the win.
"I was just trying to spin in front of the net and get a shot off," Ekholm said. "It wasn't the hardest, but it went in so it's huge."
Craig Smith, Matt Cullen and Roman Josi each had a goal and an assist, while Calle Jarnkrok and Filip Forsberg also lit the lamp for the Predators, who have won four of their last five games.
Pekka Rinne earned the win despite allowing a season-high five goals on 27 shots.
Zach Parise finished with two goals and an assist in defeat. Vanek and Marco Scandella each tallied a goal and a helper and Jason Zucker also scored for the Wild, who dropped their third straight game.
"It's clearly not good enough," Wild head coach Mike Yeo said. "You score five goals it should be automatic."
Niklas Backstrom gave up three goals on 30 shots in relief of Darcy Kuemper, who stopped 11-of-14 shots during the first period.
The Predators took a 4-3 lead 1:48 into the third period. Forsberg's initial shot deflected off Wild defenseman Ryan Suter. The rookie followed his rebound off the end boards and wristed a shot past the glove of Backstrom.
Josi's blast from the top of the left circle beat Backstrom on the power play to provide some breathing room for the Predators close to the midway point of the final stanza, but the Wild did not go away.
Pominville sent a hard low shot on net and Parise was present in the slot to redirect it past Rinne for a 5-4 game with 9:14 remaining.
The Wild pulled Backstrom with less than a minute to play. Rinne stopped Vanek's initial deflection of a Scandella blast, but couldn't control the rebound as the Wild tied the game with 47.8 seconds to play.
Minnesota scored just 1:10 into the game on Zucker's quick shot, but Jarnkrok answered right back with a wrister of his own at 4:37.
Two minutes later, Rinne stopped Charlie Coyle's backhander from the slot, but the rebound bounced off Parise's skate and into the back of the net to give the Wild a 2-1 edge.
Victor Bartley skated below the goal line and slipped the puck to Cullen, who wristed the shot over Kuemper's shoulder in tight for a tied score at 13:58 and Smith's backhander off a faceoff put the Predators up 3-2 with 1:46 to play in the first.
The Wild took advantage of Mike Fisher's double-minor high-sticking penalty. Scandella made it a 3-3 game after video replay confirmed that his rebound attempt crossed the goal line at 7:18 of the second.
Nashville improved to 10-3-3 in its last 16 games against Minnesota ... Wild forward Mikael Granlund (illness) was a late scratch ... Minnesota forward Matt Cooke returned to the lineup after missing 22 games with a hip flexor ... Suter finished with two assists and has eight over his last six games ... The Predators were without forward James Neal due to an illness.