Setoguchi’s OT Goal Snaps Wild’s Losing Streak
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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Wild have reshuffled lines, made a trade and held a players-only meeting to try and get going this season.
Maybe Devin Setoguchi ending his goal-scoring drought on Saturday will do the trick.
Setoguchi’s power-play goal at 4:21 of overtime gave Minnesota a 2-1 win over the Nashville Predators and ended the Wild’s three-game losing streak.
Setoguchi took a pass from Mikko Koivu and fired a shot past Chris Mason for his first goal of the season and the Wild’s 23rd in 11 games.
“This is a clean slate. I don’t care what happened the first 10 games or whatever,” Wild coach Mike Yeo said. “We’re not for making excuses, but at the same time, there was no training camp and there was no exhibition. It takes some guys a little time to get going. That’s a real thing. Let’s hope this is the point where we start to take off.”
Cal Clutterbuck also scored, and Niklas Backstrom stopped 25 shots for Minnesota.
Paul Gaustad scored for Nashville, which had a four-game winning streak broken.
Gaustad was whistled for a hand-pass penalty on a faceoff at 2:48 of overtime. Gaustad held his hands up in bewilderment as he skated to the penalty box, and coach Barry Trotz yelled at the officials.
“I don’t really want to comment on it too much because I’ll probably get fined,” Gaustad said. “The interpretation of the rule, I thought, is intentional glove play. The drop goes up in the air three feet, I’m on my movement, hits the top of my glove without me trying to do it, and I think they probably should explain the rules a little more clear to us.”
Trotz has been on the committee that examined the faceoff rule, and even he was unclear exactly what happened.
“I’m going to get an explanation from the league. For me it was a poor call, a questionable call at a very important time of the game,” Trotz said. “I mean, come on. I don’t agree with that at all.”
Mason — starting in place of Pekka Rinne — turned aside a couple of Wild scoring chances after the penalty, but couldn’t stop Setoguchi’s shot.
“There were things in my game in the first six or seven games that weren’t good,” Setoguchi said. “I’ve had three games in a row now where I’ve done the right things and got the chances. Any time you can do that and get rewarded it feels good.”
Nashville took a 1-0 lead midway through the first period after Craig Smith charged past defenseman Ryan Suter to set up Gaustad’s goal.
The Wild invested $196 million to bring in Suter and high-scoring forward Zach Parise during the offseason, but the investment hasn’t resulted in more offense yet.
Wild fans booed the home team during a 4-1 loss to Vancouver on Thursday, and were restless on Saturday before Clutterbuck tied the game at 1 by tipping in Suter’s shot from the point at 12:59 of the second.
Nashville entered the game allowing only 1.81 goals per game, lowest average in the NHL.
Rinne has turned away 112 of the past 115 shots he faced, but Mason got the nod because the Predators will be playing in Chicago on Sunday.
In his second start of the season — both against Minnesota — Mason stopped 30 shots.
Unfortunately for Nashville, Backstrom was just as good on the other end.
Backstrom, who was pulled early in Thursday’s loss, is 19-2-4 in games after being removed for non-injury reasons.
The bounce-back game was needed, especially when the Wild had to kill a four-minute high-sticking power play midway through the third period and another two-minute high-sticking call later in the third.
“You want to get back there,” Backstrom said. “Every time you get pulled it’s not fun. You take it pretty personal. You want to go back out there and make sure you’re not letting your teammates down.”
NOTES: Gaustad’s goal was his first since last Feb. 19. … Wild forward Dany Heatley has no points in six games after he scored goals in four of five games. … The Wild have won just two of nine against Nashville.
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