ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -Dan Ellis made 22 saves for a shutout in his first start in nearly three weeks, leading the Nashville Predators to a 2-0 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Friday night.
Jason Arnott and David Legwand scored to help the Predators win their fourth straight and fifth in six games since the All-Star break. Nashville's last four-game winning streak was Feb. 24-March 3, 2007.
The Wild lost for the first time in three games.
Ellis, who started the season as Nashville's top goalie, had not played since being pulled in his last start Jan. 17 after allowing three goals on his first four shots. Pekka Rinne started the last six games, and has emerged as the No. 1 goalie.
Ellis, 0-4 with a 4.54 goals-against average and an .837 save percentage in his previous five starts, was fortunate early to earn his third shutout of the season.
Leading By Example
The Preds captains have been integral in the team's post-All-Star Break success. Those wearing the “C” or “A” have accounted for eight of the team's 16 goals since the All-Star Break – helping the team to a 5-1-0 record to move up to 10th place in the Western Conference standings, just two points out of the conference's final two playoff spots.
Mikko Koivu just missed the net from in front, and Marek Zidlicky tipped a cross-ice pass wide, both in the opening minute. Ellis rebounded from a collision with Shea Weber to scramble back to stop James Sheppard less than 5 minutes later.
Minnesota, which was blanked 1-0 by Rinne in Nashville on Dec. 6, provided little firepower thereafter, going shotless for the final half of the opening period, and managing just five second-period shots. The Wild's first third-period shot came in the eighth minute.
Ellis' best save was sliding across the crease to stop Cal Clutterbuck on a 2-on-1 with 4:25 to play.
Arnott scored midway through the second period.
Staying below the goal line, J.P. Dumont skated out of the right corner and fed Arnott, whose one-timer from edge of the slot beat Niklas Backstrom on the far side. Three defenders were standing around Arnott, who scored in the third straight game.
The goal came 30 seconds after the Predators killed off a 1:36 two-man disadvantage, where Nashville defenders limited the Wild to just one shot in the 5-on-3 situation and one other playing 5-on-4.
Nashville killed off four short-handed situations, and was perfect on the penalty kill for the 12th time in 13 games.
Legwand scored early in the third, with his wrist shot deflecting off Backstrom and trickling into the net.
Notes: Minnesota RW Owen Nolan missed his second straight game because of upper-body muscle spasms. The team said he could return Sunday against Edmonton. ... Minnesota's Jacques Lemaire coached his 1,100th regular-season game. ... Nashville RW Wade Belak missed his third straight game because of a shoulder injury. ... The Predators annual Dads' Trip began Friday and continues Sunday in Dallas.