Nashville at Minnesota

Predators impressive with seventh consecutive road victory

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Nashville Predators are halfway through a 16-day stretch without a home game.

They couldn't be much happier.

Shea Weber scored the go-ahead goal in the third period and Nashville edged the Minnesota Wild 4-3 on Saturday night, extending their franchise-best, road-winning streak to seven games.

"Maybe we should just keep playing on the road. We've been pretty solid," Weber said with a smile.

Paul Kariya, Steve Sullivan and Kimmo Timonen also scored for Nashville, which has won five straight and nine of 10. The Predators have scored at least three goals in eight consecutive games.

Pavol Demitra, Petteri Nummelin, Mark Parrish scored for Minnesota, which lost at home for the first time in 12 games, dating to last season. It was also the Wild's first home loss to the Predators since Oct. 31, 2001 -- a span of nine games.

"I don't think anyone in here was worried about a win streak. Our goal is to go in and win every game," Parrish said. "We have to go on the road here, five-game swing, and we want to win every single one of those games as well."

Nashville's win was the fourth of a five-game trip that has already sent the Predators to Calgary, Vancouver and Edmonton. It concludes Friday in Detroit.

"It's all about hard work, mental toughness, sticking with it, and now it's confidence," Sullivan said. "We're confident in our ability to win on the road. We're confident every time we put on the jersey that if we play our best there's no reason we can't win the hockey game."

With the game tied at 3, Weber took a pass from Sullivan and beat a screened Manny Fernandez from the slot 3:34 into the final period for his second goal of the season.

Weber also scored in Wednesday's win at Edmonton, the Oilers' lone home loss. He had two goals in 28 games last season.

"Any way you can chip in is always good," he said. "I've been fortunate to get a few points and I hope it continues to roll."

Tomas Vokoun stopped 25 shots, improving to 7-0-1 in eight starts since allowing six goals to the Wild on Oct. 7. His biggest save was a left pad stop against Brian Rolston on a short-handed breakaway midway through the final period.

"I think this a reflection of the whole team," he said. "This is a team sport and you can't do it by yourself. As a team we've been playing some very good hockey. You can't have this kind of streak without the whole team playing well."

Predators coach Barry Trotz was especially pleased with his team's third-period performance, when Nashville played strong defensively and limited Minnesota to six shots.

"I felt pretty fortunate that we got through two periods tied," he said. "I thought in the third period we kicked it up and played much better."

Sullivan had another theory.

"I think we were a bit more tired and not running around as much," he said. "I think we waited for them to come to us instead of trying to go after them and kill the puck that way. We decided to play good positional defensive hockey and we were able to weather off their attacks."

Nummelin gave Minnesota a 1-0 lead with a wrist shot from the top of the slot 2:58 into the first period. The goal was his first in the NHL since April 1, 2001, with Columbus. He played the last five years in the Swiss League.

Sullivan, who had three points in the teams' first meeting this season, tied it less than two minutes later when, left alone low in the right circle, he beat Fernandez.

Timonen scored on the power play at 16:57, when his shot deflected off two Wild players and into the net.

"I felt we played a good game," Minnesota coach Jacques Lemaire said. "We only made a couple of mistakes at the wrong time which they capitalized on and that was it. That is the type of team they have."

Minnesota tied it at two at 4:13 of the second when Demitra finished a 3-on-1 rush by beating Vokoun with a wrist shot high on the glove side.

Kariya and Parrish traded goals less than two minutes apart later in the period.

Notes

  • Nashville LW Martin Erat returned to the lineup after missing Wednesday's game with a bruised rib. He had one assist.
  • Minnesota C Wes Walz returned after missing two games with a leg injury, but LW Derek Boogaard missed his second straight game with a lower body injury.
  • Minnesota lost for the first time in 10 games it was tied or leading after two periods.
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Vernon Fiddler tries to find a gap between Manny Fernandez' legs, but does not on this shot. (AP)
Vernon Fiddler tries to find a gap between Manny Fernandez' legs, but does not on this shot. (AP)

Scoreboard
Nashville  (9-3-1) «2114
Minnesota (10-3-0)1203
Three Stars
S. Sullivan
NSH


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 1
P. Nummelin
MIN


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 1
K. Timonen
NSH


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0
Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
02:58Petteri Nummelin, Slap Shot - Assist: Brent Burns
04:49Steve Sullivan (5), Wrist Shot - Assists: Vernon Fiddler, J.P. Dumont
16:57Power Play - Kimmo Timonen (2), Wrist Shot - Assist: Jason Arnott
2ND PERIOD
04:13Pavol Demitra (3), Wrist Shot - Assists: Mikko Koivu, Petteri Nummelin
09:24Paul Kariya (3), Snap Shot - Assists: Martin Erat, Marek Zidlicky
11:08Power Play - Mark Parrish (3), Wrist Shot - Assists: Mikko Koivu, Pavol Demitra
3RD PERIOD
03:34Shea Weber (2), Wrist Shot - Assists: Steve Sullivan, Dan Hamhuis
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
05:53Hamhuis: Hooking - 2 min.
10:25Zidlicky: Hooking - 2 min.
15:24Johnsson: Interference - 2 min.
2ND PERIOD
06:14Radulov: Tripping - 2 min.
09:56Kariya: Slashing - 2 min.
13:20Koivu: Hooking - 2 min.
15:11Hartnell: Cross Check - 2 min.
15:11Foster: Cross Check - 2 min.
3RD PERIOD
04:18Fernandez: Tripping - 2 min.
05:51Zidlicky: Hooking - 2 min.
SHOTS ON GOAL
 123T
Nashville96621
Minnesota1012628
Goalies
GoalieMINSSGA
Tomas Vokoun59:47253
Manny Fernandez59:12174
Game Information
Attendance - 18568
Referees - Kevin Pollock, Justin St. Pierre
Linesmen - Shane Heyer, Thor Nelson
 
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