Mully's Musings: at Minnesota
Wednesday, 11.23.2011 / 10:03 PM CT / Features
By Bryan Mullen
It was a better start for Nashville. It was a better overall effort.
But the result was the same.
The Predators were attempting to bounce back from a rough 6-2 loss to Edmonton on Tuesday, but the Minnesota Wild was too tough and earned a 3-2 win. The Wild, who entered tied for the league lead in points (27), scored all three of its goals in the third period. One came on the power play. Another came shorthanded.
Nashville can’t afford to dwell on its three-game losing streak. The Preds continue their road trip on Saturday when they face division foe Detroit.
On to the musings…
Better start: It was stressed in the moments following the loss to Edmonton. When the puck dropped at Minnesota, the Preds needed to start fast. It took a three or four minutes, but Nashville appeared to have more jump and energy, and it resulted with a 1-0 lead after the first 20 minutes. But the real energy issue took place later in the game, when the Preds had to kill penalty after penalty. They were impressive in killing a power play that lasted 3:03 midway through the second after Colin Wilson was called for a double minor (high sticking). And the Wild had only two shots on net in that span. But as the penalties piled up, Nashville’s energy took a hit.
Tootoo flying around: Jordin Tootoo has been superb in his last two games. He continues to play smart, but still has the edge that fans have come to love. He scored Nashville’s first goal at 5:21 of the first. Tootoo was a bit behind the net and to the side, saw a defender leave the front of the net, made his move and snuck it past Wild goaltender Josh Harding. He almost scored an identical goal with 4:40 to go in the first. Tootoo also had the primary assist on Ryan Suter’s 5-on-3 goal with 6:03 to which cut the Wild lead to 3-2. Tootoo has two goals and two assists in the last two games.
Up and down: Once again, Pekka Rinne has some great saves. The first goal he allowed came on a 2-on-1, and there was little he could do. Minnesota’s second goal was one he’d like to have back, although it appeared he was screened. The third goal came when he came out to play the puck, but it hit the boards softly, slowed down, and he found himself in no man’s land. Rinne did all he could to disrupt Cal Clutterbuck , who beat Rinne to the puck, but Clutterbuck scored an easy one shorthanded. Rinne experienced a little bit of everything against the Wild, but don’t expect him to hang his head.
D Jack Hillen on the third period: “They got a quick one there and that took a little steam out of us. We knew they were going to come out hard. We had a good game plan. I thought we did a better job of executing passes.”
F Cal Clutterbuck, Wild: Shorthanded goal, tied team-high with 4 shots
F Jordin Tootoo, Nashville: 1 goal, 1 assist
G Josh Harding, Wild: Stopped 23 of 25 shots