Recap: Wild 2, Predators 0
By Jess Myers, The Sports Xchange
Wild 2 Predators 0
SAINT PAUL, Minn. -- Rookie Justin Fontaine's second career goal was the game-winner as the Minnesota Wild dominated the Nashville Predators but struggled to score in a 2-0 victory Tuesday.
Josh Harding made 16 saves for the Wild for his first shutout of the season, and Jason Pominville scored into an empty net as Minnesota (4-3-3) snapped a three-game winless streak.
The Predators, who won four of their previous five games, had their quietest offensive night of the season. The previous season-low shot total for Nashville (5-4-1) was 25.
Fontaine, the leading scorer for Minnesota's top minor league team last season, skated on the Wild's top line late in the second period after coach Mike Yeo juggled his lineup, looking for an offensive spark.
Defenseman Clayton Stoner's long-range shot was knocked down but not controlled by Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne. Fontaine, at the top of the crease, pounced on the rebound before Rinne could cover.
Already missing one blue-line mainstay, the Wild's defensive corps got even thinner in the first period when Jonas Brodin was hit in the face by a dump-in shot from Gabriel Bourque. A few minutes after Brodin headed down the tunnel, Wild defender Marco Scandella blocked a Shea Weber slap shot and limped to the bench, leaving Minnesota just four healthy defensemen for a time. Scandella returned in the second period, but Brodin did not return.
Following on a too-common theme for Minnesota lately, the Wild completely dominated the opening 20 minutes, posting a 13-3 advantage in shots, but got no goals to show for the effort.
Nashville, which won in Montreal and Winnipeg to open a three-game road trip, managed just six shots in the second period, but Eric Nystrom nearly broke the scoreless tie before he was stopped by Harding on a breakaway.
Rinne finished with 27 saves.
NOTES: Wild D Ryan Suter skated in his 600th career game. He spent his first 542 games with the Predators, then signed with Minnesota as a free agent in the summer of 2012. ... Both teams were missing key players from the blue line. Predators D Roman Josi missed his eighth consecutive game with a concussion, while Minnesota was without D Keith Ballard for the fourth consecutive game. Ballard was struck in the face by a puck during the Wild's 2-1 win in Buffalo on Oct. 14. ... Tuesday's game was a homecoming for Predators assistant coach Phil Housley. A native of South Saint Paul, Housley coached high school hockey in the Twin Cities for many years before joining the Nashville staff over the summer. His wife, Karin, is a Minnesota state senator. ... The Wild, in the midst of playing six of seven games at home, host the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday. The Predators will entertain the Winnipeg Jets in Nashville on Thursday.