Wild give up record two fastest goals in 6-1 trouncing by Predators

Sarah McLellan, Star Tribune on

Published in Hockey

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Not even a week ago — last Saturday — the Wild trailed the Predators by a measly two points for a playoff spot.

What a difference two games make.

Or rather two losses.

The Wild dropped eight points back of Nashville after the Predators blitzed the Wild twice in eight seconds before running away, 6-1, on Thursday at Bridgestone Arena to pick up their seventh straight win.

Not only did the Wild give up the fastest two goals in team history, but the meltdown came less than a minute after they scored themselves.

Despite a choppy start, the Wild capitalized first when Connor Dewar buried a Brandon Duhaime rebound behind Nashville goalie Juuse Saros 9 minutes, 51 seconds into the first period.

This was Dewar's second goal in as many games and fourth this season vs. the Predators; his hat trick headlined the Wild's 6-1 rout at Nashville on Nov. 30.

But two poor shifts prevented the Wild from extending that lead let alone protecting it.

Only 49 seconds after Dewar's goal, a Roman Josi centering feed was deflected in by Yakov Trenin. Then a botched clear by the Wild after the ensuing faceoff ended up deep in their zone where fourth-liner Cole Smith stuffed the puck by goaltender Filip Gustavsson's right pad to flip a 1-0 deficit for the Predators into a 2-1 advantage in a breezy eight seconds.

Until then, the quickest pair of goals surrendered by the Wild came in 10 seconds.

Although two-plus periods remained, the Wild never recovered.

They blew three power plays after also going 0 for 3 in the 3-2 loss to the Hurricanes on Tuesday in St. Paul.


As for Nashville, it looked like the team that owns the longest active win streak in the NHL — a run that's turned them into a Western Conference wild-card favorite.

A feisty second period didn't distract the Predators, who converted on a power play with 2:05 left in the period on a Filip Forsberg shot set up by Josi; Nashville's power play went 1 for 2.

Then just 1:32 into the third, Josi snagged a third point when he banked a shot in off Gustavsson from near the goal line.

At 8:02, the blowout continued when former Wild forward Gustav Nyquist dished the puck to Ryan O'Reilly for a one-timer from the middle before St. Paul's Ryan McDonagh tacked on a sixth goal at 13:57.

Gustavsson finished with 25 saves; Saros had 33 stops at the other end while improving to 8-3 in his career against the Wild.

For a second straight game, the Wild's top line of Kirill Kaprizov, Joel Eriksson Ek and Matt Boldy were pointless.

The Wild will get another crack at the Predators, on March 10 at Xcel Energy Center, but there's no guarantee that game will have as much at stake as this one did.

A regulation win would have propelled the Wild within four points of Nashville, a much easier distance to cover than eight.

Plus, there's the Wild's track record inside the Central Division.

This result sunk them to 5-10 against their rivals, and three of their next four games before that rematch with the Predators are vs. the Central beginning with a showdown at St. Louis on Saturday. The Blues are also battling for a wild-card seed.

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