NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Nino Niederreiter scored two goals, and the Minnesota Wild beat Nashville 4-2 Thursday night, handing the Predators only their fourth regulation loss on home ice this season.
Devan Dubnyk also made 27 saves as he improved to 14-3-2 since being acquired by Minnesota in mid-January. With the win, the Wild moved back into the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference.
Erik Haula and Kyle Brodziak also scored for Minnesota.
Mike Fisher had a goal and an assist, Craig Smith had a goal and Matt Cullen added two assists for Nashville. The Predators snapped a six-game winning streak and now are 26-4-1 at home this season.
Nashville coach Peter Laviolette pulled goalie Pekka Rinne with 3 minutes left, but Niederreiter sealed the win with an empty netter with 1:39 remaining.
Minnesota also had left wing Sean Bergenheim on the ice for the first time since trading for the veteran Tuesday. He skated with Mikko Koivu and Thomas Vanek. The Predators got defenseman Ryan Ellis back after missing 21 games with a lower-body injury.
The Wild have gotten points in 14 of their last 19 games, and only Nashville came into Thursday night with more points since the All-Star break than Minnesota — with the Predators playing two more games.
The game had plenty of intensity, and fans took every chance to boo former Predators defenseman Ryan Suter when he touched the puck. But Haula, playing in his 100th NHL game, gave Minnesota 1-0 lead late in the first period with a slap shot from the blue line. It’s the 14th time in 19 games Minnesota has scored first.
The Predators tied it 16 seconds into the second as Cullen found Fisher in the slot for a slap shot, his 14th this season. Rinne got help from the crossbar on a shot from Wild forward Justin Fontaine minutes later, and the goalie covered up the puck.
Brodziak put the Wild back up in the second with a slap shot off a face-off from the left circle. That lead didn’t last long.
Smith got the puck in the neutral zone for a breakaway and beat Dubnyk with a wrister 1:19 later for his 20th goal. Then Niederreiter capped a 3-on-2 with a wrister over Rinne at 9:48 as Minnesota took a 3-2 lead in a wild sequence.
The Predators had two-man advantages and couldn’t beat Dubnyk. The Wild now have killed 36 of their last 37 penalties.
NOTES: Fans gave former Predators goalie Tomas Vokoun a standing ovation in the first period, and he was presented a portrait. He is playing for Nashville against Detroit in an alumni game Saturday. … Cullen’s first assist was the 400th of his career. … Predators forward Gabriel Bourque played in his 200th career game. … Nashville is 4-12-2 when trailing after two periods.
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