ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Minnesota Wild entered play Sunday without a regulation loss in their past seven games. That streak came to an ugly end In their final regular-season tune-up before the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Nashville Predators scored four second-period goals to overcome a two-goal deficit and finish their season with a 7-3 victory at Xcel Energy Center.
Minnesota, the top wild-card team in the Western Conference, will play its first-round series against the Central Division-champion Colorado Avalanche, beginning Thursday night in Denver (9:30 p.m. ET; CNBC, TSN). It will be the third time the Wild and Avalanche have met in the first round. They've split the first two, with the division champion losing each time.
For the Predators, despite winning six of their final seven games, the season is over. They went out with a bang, getting a goal from Rich Clune in the first period and four unanswered goals in the second to turn a 3-1 deficit into a 5-3 lead.
Craig Smith tipped another Josi point shot past Wild goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov at 14:53 to give Nashville a two-goal edge. Smith also scored the final goal of the night late in the third to take the team lead with 24 goals. Rookie Calle Jarnkrok added a goal for Nashville, his second of the season.
Jason Pominville had a first-period goal for Minnesota, his 30th of the season, joining Marian Gaborik and Brian Rolston as the only players in franchise history to hit the 30-goal plateau. Pominville also had two assists to reach 60 points for the sixth time in his career.
Minnesota’s Erik Haula had a goal and an assist for his first career multi-point game.
Bryzgalov, who stopped 10 of 11 shots in the first period before a rocky second, made 16 saves before being pulled for John Curry at the start of the third period. The loss was Bryzgalov’s first in regulation in 11 games since the Wild acquired him from the Edmonton Oilers in a trade on March 4.
Carter Hutton made 27 saves for Nashville and finished 11-10-3 in his rookie season.
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