Photo Credit: AP Photo/Genevieve Ross
Chris Mason’s 30 saves just weren’t enough as a Setoguchi powerplay goal in overtime off a phantom call and Nashville’s 6 missed opportunities on their own powerplay wrote the story of tonight’s game.
The Predators received a goal from Paul Gaustad and a better shot-producing game overall, however Nashville couldn’t convert throughout regulation and had to settle for a single point.
After a back and forth start to the contest, Craig Smith drove through two defensemen and found himself with a clear chance on Wild netminder Niklas Backstrom. While Smith couldn’t convert, he found Gaustad up-front who tapped in the loose puck and made it 1-0 Nashville 10:11 into the first.
One powerplay in the first and two great powerplay opportunities in the second wouldn’t get Nashville on the board and the Wild would capitalize on the momentum-shift. 12:59 into the second, former Predator Ryan Suter would shoot it from the blueline and it would be tipped in by Cal Clutterbuck to tie the game at 1.
Nashville grabbed a 4-minute powerplay from a Setoguchi double-minor for high-sticking 6:18 into the third. Although they recorded 7 shots on that double powerplay, they couldn’t get a goal past Backstrom to take the lead. The Predators are 2-28 on the powerplay since starting the season 4-10.
Regulation wasn’t enough for either team tonight and overtime is where it would get interesting. At 2:48 of overtime, Nashville forward and faceoff-specialist Paul Gaustad was called for “passing the puck with his hand on a faceoff” although all replays very clearly show his hand never leaving his stick.
Rule 76.4 “Any attempt by either center to win the face-off by batting the puck with their hand shall result in a minor penalty.”
Although the rulebook and replays would, in the end, side with the Nashville Predators, the end result of the game would not. Ryan Suter found Mikko Koivu who found Devin Setoguchi who drove it home to win the game 2-1 for the Minnesota Wild.
Nashville heads back home tonight to faceoff in the second game of a back-to-back against the red-hot (and league best) Chicago Blackhawks tomorrow night at 7pm. While the final of tonight’s game isn’t what the Predators were looking for, a short memory is what they need on the plane trip home.
Powerplay – 0 for 6, 0%
Penalty Kill – 3 for 4, 75%
Best Play of the Game: Paul Gaustad poked in a loose puck midway through the first period after a great Craig Smith drive to make it 1-0 Nashville.
Worst Play of the Game: An awful phantom call on the Predators gave Minnesota a powerplay in overtime, where Setoguchi would score the eventual game winner
My Three Stars (voted by me):
#1: – Devin Setoguchi
#2: – Chris Mason
#3: – Niklas Backstrom
Nashville is back in action tomorrow night as they take on the Chicago Blackhawks. Game is at 7:00pm CT.