The Minnesota Wild picked up a big win in the Western Conference playoff race as they were able to take down the Nashville Predators by a score of 3-1 at the Xcel Energy Center on Tuesday night.
The Wild came out of the locker room by pouncing on the Predators early and Luke Kunin was more than willing to capitalize. The center jumped in front of the net and after a feed from Joel Erikson Ek, he scored his 14th goal of the season off his own rebound to put Minnesota on the board.
The Wild's big first period continued on the stick of Kevin Fiala. The reigning first star of the week came in with a nasty toe drag through the Nashville defense and scored his 12th goal in the past 15 games and 21st of the season to give Minnesota a 2-0 lead heading into the first intermission.
After a scoreless second period, the Wild added to their lead early in the third as a shot from Fiala was redirected by Eric Staal and eventually found the stick of Zach Parise for his 24th goal of the season to put the Wild ahead 3-0.
The Wild found themselves in trouble a couple of minutes later, however, as Alex Galchenyuk went to the penalty box for hooking and Craig Smith notched his 18th goal of the season to cut the Wild's lead to 3-1.
Alex Stalock took care of things from there, racking up 37 saves to help preserve the victory for Minnesota.
Although the victory helped the Wild (73 points) leap the Predators (72 points) in the standings, they couldn't move into the second wild-card spot because Winnipeg (74 points) defeated Buffalo. As it stands, Minnesota is tied with Arizona and sitting just one point out of the final playoff spot.
The Wild will try to keep pace with the field Thursday night when they head west to take on the San Jose Sharks.