7 - 6 Final - 2OT
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Rolston's shootout goal gives Minnesota wild win

Nov 17, 2006 - 4:25 AM
NASHVILLE, Tennessee (Ticker) -- In a game where it seemed the team that had the puck last would win, Brian Rolston scored the game-winning goal in the shootout to lift the Minnesota Wild to a crazy 7-6 victory over the Nashville Predators.

With the shootout tied, 2-2, Rolston skated in and cooly slid a backhander between Predators goaltender Chris Mason's pads.

Minnesota rookie netminder Niklas Backstrom preserved the victory when he denied Josef Vasicek.

"I did not know what I was going to do," said Rolston, who had seven shots before the shootout. "I did watch the other penalty shots to see what they did. I was faking like I was going stick side, and he has to be thinking it is possibly going to be there, and then he just opened up, and I brought it back to my backhand."

"I saw him last time when he came in and took a slapper, so obviously, he changed it up," Mason said. "He just beat me through the legs and I wasn't expecting that."

Earlier in the shootout, Nashville's Martin Erat appeared to score the clincher, but it was disallowed after a review. Erat skated in and had the puck poked off his stick by Backstrom, but the puck deflected off Erat's skate, the goalpost and then off Backstrom's leg into the net.

"I knew right away he pokechecked me, it went off my pads and then it went back in," Erat said.

The victory was a great end to an up-and-down five-game road trip for the Wild, who finished the trek 2-3-0.

"They kept coming and pulled it out in the end," Mason said. "It was a good effort by them. They just didn't quit. A lot of teams would have given up, and they didn't. If you give them an opportunity, they can be pretty deadly."

Nashville's Paul Kariya was awarded a penalty shot with 38 seconds left in overtime after he was hauled down by Minnesota defenseman Nick Schultz. But his attempt glanced off the crossbar, preserving the tie.

Kariya and Steve Sullivan scored in the shootout for the Predators, while Pavol Demitra and defenseman Petteri Nummelin tallied for the Wild.

Trailing by two early in the third period, Minnesota tied the game, 6-6, with goals just over six minutes apart.

Demitra's power-play goal at 5:28 sliced the lead to 6-5 before the Wild tied the game on defenseman Brent Burns' first goal of the season. He took a pass from Mikko Koivu, settled a bouncing puck in the slot and rifled it just inside the post past Mason.

Earlier in the game, the clubs played the kind of hockey the league is hoping for.

With Nashville leading, 3-2, early in the second period, the teams combined for five goals in just under seven minutes.

Defenseman Kimmo Timonen gave the Predators a 4-2 lead with a power-play goal at 12:28 before Minnesota's Pascal Dupuis sliced the deficit to 4-3 just 38 seconds later.

The Predators then looked liked they would take command with goals 2:09 apart.

Vernon Fiddler gave Nashville a 5-3 edge at 13:52 before Sullivan upped the lead to 6-3 at 16:05, but Stephane Veilleux scored for the Wild with 54 seconds left to cut the deficit to 6-4.

Minnesota starting goaltender Manny Fernandez, who gave up five goals on only 20 shots, was replaced by Backstrom after Fiddler's goal. Backstrom recorded 24 saves for the Wild, who went 2-for-4 on the power play.

"We have to believe in ourselves no matter what the situation in the game is," Backstrom said. "We needed these two points and it was great."

"You can't say enough about Nik coming in and playing as well as he did," said Rolston, whose club started 10-2-0 but is only 2-4-0 since. "The D said that they warmed him up for overtime by giving Kariya a couple of breakaways."

Mason finished with 39 saves for the Predators, who were 1-for-4 with the extra skater. Nashville is 7-1-1 in its last nine games.

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