The Minnesota Wild tried to stop their free-fall down the NHL standings Saturday when they hosted the team that has the league's best record and winningest goalie. It didn't happen.
The Wild were defeated by the Nashville Predators 3-1 at Xcel Energy Center, sending Minnesota to its fourth straight loss. They've won just two of their last 12 games.
The Wild outshot Nashville 37-27, but the Star Tribune says Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne was excellent in earning his 28th win of the season.
Minnesota's goaltending has come in for plenty of criticism this season. But the Pioneer Press reports Saturday's game demonstrated that their defensive problems are not all in net. The paper cites a turnover by defenseman Justin Falk that led to Nashville's final goal as a prime example.
Colin Wilson's goal off the turnover came after Calle Jarnkrok scored what would prove to be the game-winner earlier in the third period.
The Wild went scoreless on six power plays. Their lone tally came when Charlie Coyle evened the score in the first. The Star Tribune notes it was his second goal since Oct. 23.
Six fighting penalties were handed out in the game, including a pair following a bout in which Nashville's Shea Weber seemed to get the best of the Wild's Matt Cooke.
The game marked the return of Zach Parise, who had missed the previous two games because of the death of his father, former North Star Jean-Paul Parise.
After the game, the NHL announced that Wild defenseman Ryan Suter will take part in the All-Star game in Columbus, Ohio, on Jan. 25. Suter leads the NHL in time on the ice per game this season and is among the top ten defensemen in assists.
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