NASHVILLE – The Minnesota Wild beat the Nashville Predators with offence from up and down the lineup.
Minnesota got goals from five players and points from 10 in a 5-3 victory over Nashville on Saturday night. The Wild have won five straight, their longest winning streak since the 2007-08 season.
The Wild pounded goalies Dan Ellis and Pekka Rinne with 39 shots. Ellis allowed four goals on 28 shots. Rinne came on to start the third period and stopped 10 of 11 shots.
“We are preaching shooting from all angles,” Wild coach Todd Richards said. “We are preaching getting players in front of the net. We are starting to score goals. It was another five-goal performance. Hopefully, the guys are starting to see the result of their hard work.”
Andrew Brunette leads the Wild with 10 goals. He scored on the power play against the Predators and added an assist.
“Five-on-five, we have really improved over the last 10 or 12 games,” Brunette said. “I think it is contagious. When you get enough guys doing the right things everybody falls in line.
“We are getting scoring opportunities and goals from each line over the last 10 games. The big thing is we are getting more pucks on net. We are more aggressive on the forecheck. We have done a real good job of cycling the puck.”
Martin Havlat chipped in with pair of assists.
“Havlat was good,” Richards said. “He recognized where their defenders were. A lot of times with an aggressive team you can find someone alone in front of the net.”
Nashville scored on 1-of-4 power plays in the first period. Martin Erat made it 1-0 at 9:27 with a slap shot from the right circle that went over the right shoulder of goalie Josh Harding.
“We just came out flat,” Erat said. “We scored the first goal, but we didn’t play well.”
With 1:44 left in the first, Andrew Ebbett knocked down a high pass from Havlat and beat Ellis from close range.
James Sheppard scored with 12 seconds left in the first period when he tipped the puck in from in front.
At 11:21 of the second period, Havlat took a slap shot from the blue line that bounced. Brunette knocked the rebound back in for a power-play goal.
With 2:23 left in the period, Antti Miettinen beat Ellis to his stick side from low in the slot after getting a pass from Brunette.
“We had everybody rolling,” Miettinen said. “That’s probably the biggest thing. Everybody was creating pressure in their zone and playing deep. Once that happens about eight shifts in row it not only makes us feel good, but makes them feel bad.”
In the third, Eric Belanger wasted little time testing Rinne. He beat him with a one-timer during a power play at 3:27.
Nashville coach Barry Trotz stressed that he wasn’t unhappy with Ellis, but felt a change was needed.
“Ellis gave us a tremendous game in Chicago Friday night and he gave us two really good periods against the Wild,” Trotz said. “I call it the ‘mercy rule.’ I know Ellis probably wasn’t happy with me, but he was the reason we were partially still in the game.”
At 9:05, Jason Arnott skated from the right side behind the net to the left and beat Harding with a wrist shot from the goal line for the Predators. Marcel Goc scored with a wrister in the slot with 12 seconds left.
“We weren’t very firm in our own end,” Trotz said. “Everything comes down to one-on-one battles. If we’ve got two of our guys on only one of their guys, we should get the puck. But we weren’t getting the puck. When you lose the one-on-one battles, everything breaks down.”
NOTES: Erat has nine points (5 goals, 4 assists) in his last nine games, with five of his six goals this season scored at home. … Minnesota has allowed the first goal in eight of its last nine games, but the Wild are 6-2-1 during that stretch. … Nashville C Dave Scatchard missed his fourth straight game because of an upper body injury.