You don't often get the opportunity to score five goals on Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators. If you do, usually you should win. The Wild let their goaltending get the best of them again as the Wild rallied, but fell short in overtime.
In the first period, the Wild game out right out of the gate playing their system. Jason Zucker got the Wild on the board first just 1:10 into the game. Mikko Koivu won the defensive zone faceoff and Jason Pominville streaked down the left boards and centered the puck to a cutting Zucker for a nice goal over the blocker side of Rinne. Little did we know the type of scoring night we were going to see.
Something called Calle Jarnkrok tied the game 3 minutes later as he was able to deke around Darcy Kuemper on an odd-man situation after the Wild failed to clear. Marco Scandella decided to take away the passing option away from Jarnkrok by covering Derek Roy leaving Jarnkrok all alone with Kuemper in front.
Zach Parise was the benefactor after a Charlie Coyle back-hander caromed off Rinne's left pad and off of Parise's skate for the goal. Coyle was getting the first line center job because Mikael Granlund fell ill during warm-ups. Coyle would end the night with two assists and was 55 percent in the faceoff dots.
It became a punch-counter punch kind of game. Former Wild Matt Cullen would tie the game after banking the puck off Kuemper and in. Kuemper gave the post too easily and that allowed the fluttering puck to bounce in off his back. It wasn't a good goal to give up especially facing a team with an elite goaltender and one that knows how to win as the Nashville came into the game four points out of first place.
Nashville would claim its first lead after Craig Smith sent a back-hander past Kuemper with just under two minutes remaining in the first period. Smith got the puck right off the faceoff and sent a hard back-janded shot on Kuemper. Kuemper couldn't handle it with the glove cleanly and it trickled in to the corner of the net. It would prove to be the final goal that Kuemper would give up Saturday night because he would be pulled in favor of Niklas Backstrom staring in the second period.
In a game that featured 11 goals, it is odd that there was only one goal in the second period. After Zach Parise was hauled down, Mike Fisher was called for two separate hooking minors giving the Wild 3:40 seconds of power play time following Mikko Koivu's penalty expiring.
Marco Scandella would get credit for a goal that never really looked like it went in. Sure, Seth Jones had to fish the puck out from behind the goal line after the whistle, but it took a lengthy official review to confirm the tying goal. The puck bounced off a number of bodies and I still am not sure I saw the puck go in even on the replay. Some how Toronto found conclusive evidence to call it a goal and the score was now 3-3.
Less than two minutes into the third period, Filip Forsberg regained the lead for the Predators. He shot the puck in hard and wide of the net, and sped in to gather the carom and roofed over Backstrom. It was akin to the old playground basketball move where you throw it hard off the backboard to catch your own rebound for an alley-oop type slam dunk.
Nashville got their power play on the board after Roman Josi scored with a heavy, heavy slap shot from the point that beat Backstrom over the glove. Jared Spurgeon was screening Backstrom, so he never really saw the shot coming.
It was looking bleak at this moment for Minnesota. No team has scored five goals on the Pekka Rinne yet this season. Minnesota also didn't look like the had yet another third period rally in them. But a power play with about 10 minutes left in the game would provide a chance for the Wild to get back into the game. The top power play unit was working to regain possession of the puck down in the left corner. Koivu would send a pass up the wall the Ryan Suter, who then sent a pass across the blue line to Jason Pominville on the other point. I haven't been a fan of him on the point on the power play, but this time he made a nice play. Pominville took a hard snap shot that was low to the ice and in the vicinity of Parise. Parise was able to redirect the puck up and off the ice to beat Rinne over the glove and into the top left corner of the net.
The Wild were struggling to gain possession of the puck so they could pull Backstrom for the extra-attacker. Once they finally did, they were able to get the puck to Suter for a shot from the point. the shot sailed wide, but Marco Scandella saw an opportunity to pinch. He did and sent the puck to the front of the net where both Thomas Vanek and Parise were waiting of the puck. Vanek got the initial tip on Scandella's centering attempt, then gathered his rebound and put it up top shelf. The Wild were able to force overtime for the second straight game.
After a few chances in overtime, Nashville started getting more pressure in the Wild's end. Mattias Ekholm was fighting for the puck behind net and to Backstrom's right side. Minnesota backed off him for just a moment and Ekholm made a charge for the front of the net coming around Backstrom's left side and was able to get the game-winner.
The good thing was that the Wild were the first team to score five goals on Rinne this season. Also the power play scored twice in four opportunities. The Wild got a gift goal from Toronto for once. Minnesota won 43 of 83 faceoffs.
The bad was that they lost, first and foremost. They lost in overtime after rallying for two goals in the third period to get it to overtime. It's like they ran out of gas after busting their tails to even have a chance to win. Darcy Kuemper was pulled for the fourth time in his last five starts at home. The Wild were the first team to score five goals on Rinne...and still lost the game.
Mike Yeo said it best in his post-game presser about the goaltending, "I'm not going to sit here and say it's been good enough, but also I think that we're not doing a great job in front of them to help them get on top of their game. So I think I would say that it has been an issue, but at the same time, we've compounded things."