for this game

Bergeron, Wild crush Predators to keep playoff chances alive

Apr 11, 2009 - 4:50 AM
ST. PAUL, Minnesota (AP) -- Jacques Lemaire watched his Minnesota Wild deliver "one of the best games we've played all year" in the most crucial of moments.

He soaked in the roar of the home crowd approving of an inspiring performance, and couldn't help but think of what might have been.

Marc-Andre Bergeron scored twice and Minnesota set a season high for goals Friday night in an 8-4 victory over the Nashville Predators, but the Wild were eliminated from playoff contention a few hours later when Anaheim advanced to overtime against Dallas en route to a shootout victory. Nashville dropped out when St. Louis beat Columbus.

"I wish we would have had more games like this," Lemaire said after what might have been his last home game as coach of the Wild. "Then we wouldn't be in the situation that we are in right now."

Lemaire said after the game he has made a decision about his future, but was not ready to announce if he would return for a 10th season as Wild coach.

Andrew Brunette, Kim Johnsson, Dan Fritsche, Mikko Koivu, Cal Clutterbuck and Marek Zidlicky also scored for the Wild, who will finish the season Saturday night at Columbus.

Jason Arnott scored twice, and Shea Weber and Steve Sullivan also scored for Nashville.

"This group never gave up," coach Barry Trotz said. "They can walk out of here proud. Obviously we didn't get the result we wanted tonight."

Marian Gaborik and James Sheppard each had two assists for Minnesota, which went 3-for-3 on the power play and got 31 saves from Niklas Backstrom.

"Tonight was special," Lemaire said. "Behind the bench, I don't know how many times I thought that the guys are playing with their heart, and you can tell. And having the fans appreciate that, it was great."

After a slow start to the game, the Wild played with the intensity and desperation of a team that simply cannot afford another loss.

Arnott opened the scoring with a shot from the slot for his 32nd goal of the season. That broke the previous record set by Sullivan and Paul Kariya in 2005-06.

The Wild tied it up despite vehement protests from Nashville coach Barry Trotz. With just over 7 minutes to play in the first period, the Predators were on the attack when the officials called a delayed penalty. As the puck trickled through the slot, Nashville winger Joel Ward appeared to touch it up, which would have stopped play.

But the officials did not blow the whistle and Fritsche grabbed the loose puck along the boards near the blue line and raced the other way. His shot rolled up and over Rinne's right blocker and into the net to tie the game.

Trotz was livid, waving his arms and yelling at any official within shouting distance, but it did no good.

The goal completely changed the momentum of the game, and possibly Nashville's season.

"An unforgettable break, that's for sure," Nashville center Vernon Fiddler said. "It could cost us the year. We had touched the puck a few times before that where they hadn't blown it down."

The Wild took the lead just before the period ended after a monster shift from Gaborik, Sheppard and Brunette, who held the puck in the Nashville zone for nearly a minute. The shift ended with Radek Bonk taking a holding penalty.

Brunette cleaned up a rebound for a power-play goal and a 2-1 lead.

Fritsche had a hand in the third goal as well, absorbing a high hit from Jordin Tootoo to push the puck up ice to Colton Gillies, who threw a cross-ice pass to Bergeron. The defenseman skated in on Rinne's right and beat him through the five-hole for a 3-1 lead less than 5 minutes into the second period.

Fritsche had to be helped off the ice with a chest injury and did not return, and 6-foot-8, 258-pound defenseman John Scott spent much of the rest of the night stalking the 5-9, 200-pound Tootoo around the rink.

The Predators twice cut the deficit to two goals in the final period, and Trotz was so desperate for a victory that he kept Rinne out of the net for nearly all of the last 2 minutes. Koivu scored a short-hander and Clutterbuck and Zidlicky added empty-netters to seal it.

"We would have liked to play like this the whole year," Backstrom said. "I hope we still have a chance tomorrow morning."






  • 15
    roots
    MattDOOM777 Added 5 roots

    Predators 4, Wild 8  FinalApr 11 12:39 PM
  • 10
    roots
    #1 Cards Fan Added 10 roots

    Predators 4, Wild 8  FinalApr 11 9:29 AM


  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NASHVILLE 1 1 2 4
    MINNESOTA 2 3 3 8 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NAS - JASON ARNOTT 32 (STEVE SULLIVAN) 7:18
    MIN - DAN FRITSCHE 5 (UNASSISTED) 12:58
    MIN - (PP) ANDREW BRUNETTE 22 (JAMES SHEPPARD, KURTIS
    FOSTER) 19:34
    2ND PRD: MIN - MARC-ANDRE BERGERON 12 (COLTON GILLIES, DAN FRITS

    Apr 10 10:45 PM


  • NHL
    NASHVILLE 4
    MINNESOTA 8
    3RD PRD: MIN - (EN) MAREK ZIDLICKY 12 (MIKKO KOIVU) 19:43

    Predators 4, Wild 8  3rd - 0:17Apr 10 10:43 PM


  • NHL
    NASHVILLE 4
    MINNESOTA 7
    3RD PRD: MIN - (EN) CAL CLUTTERBUCK 11 (STEPHANE VEILLEUX, KURTIS
    FOSTER) 18:31

    Predators 4, Wild 7  3rd - 1:29Apr 10 10:40 PM


  • NHL
    NASHVILLE 4
    MINNESOTA 6
    3RD PRD: NAS - STEVE SULLIVAN 11 (SHEA WEBER) 14:21

    Predators 4, Wild 6  3rd - 5:39Apr 10 10:31 PM


  • NHL
    NASHVILLE 3
    MINNESOTA 6
    3RD PRD: MIN - MIKKO KOIVU 19 (UNASSISTED) 11:06

    Predators 3, Wild 6  3rd - 8:54Apr 10 10:25 PM


  • NHL
    NASHVILLE 3
    MINNESOTA 5
    3RD PRD: NAS - (PP) SHEA WEBER 23 (JEAN-PIERRE DUMONT, STEVE SULLIVAN)
    10:47

    Predators 3, Wild 5  3rd - 9:13Apr 10 10:21 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NASHVILLE 1 1 2
    MINNESOTA 2 3 5 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NAS - JASON ARNOTT 32 (STEVE SULLIVAN) 7:18
    MIN - DAN FRITSCHE 5 (UNASSISTED) 12:58
    MIN - (PP) ANDREW BRUNETTE 22 (JAMES SHEPPARD, KURTIS
    FOSTER) 19:34
    2ND PRD: MIN - MARC-ANDRE BERGERON 12 (COLTON GILLI

    Apr 10 9:45 PM


  • NHL
    NASHVILLE 2
    MINNESOTA 5
    2ND PRD: MIN - (PP) MARC-ANDRE BERGERON 13 (MARIAN GABORIK, PETER
    OLVECKY) 18:09

    Predators 2, Wild 5  2nd - 1:51Apr 10 9:43 PM


  • NHL
    NASHVILLE 2
    MINNESOTA 4
    2ND PRD: NAS - JASON ARNOTT 33 (DAN HAMHUIS, JEAN-PIERRE DUMONT) 16:14

    Predators 2, Wild 4  2nd - 3:46Apr 10 9:38 PM


  • NHL
    NASHVILLE 1
    MINNESOTA 4
    2ND PRD: MIN - KIM JOHNSSON 2 (MARIAN GABORIK, KURTIS FOSTER) 15:56

    Predators 1, Wild 4  2nd - 4:04Apr 10 9:35 PM


  • NHL
    NASHVILLE 1
    MINNESOTA 3
    2ND PRD: MIN - MARC-ANDRE BERGERON 12 (COLTON GILLIES, DAN FRITSCHE)
    4:47

    Predators 1, Wild 3  2nd - 15:13Apr 10 9:11 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NASHVILLE 1 1
    MINNESOTA 2 2 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NAS - JASON ARNOTT 32 (STEVE SULLIVAN) 7:18
    MIN - DAN FRITSCHE 5 (UNASSISTED) 12:58
    MIN - (PP) ANDREW BRUNETTE 22 (UNASSISTED) 19:34
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    NAS

    Apr 10 8:46 PM


  • NHL
    NASHVILLE 1
    MINNESOTA 2
    1ST PRD: MIN - (PP) ANDREW BRUNETTE 22 (UNASSISTED) 19:34

    Predators 1, Wild 2  1st - 0:26Apr 10 8:46 PM


  • NHL
    NASHVILLE 1
    MINNESOTA 1
    1ST PRD: MIN - DAN FRITSCHE 5 (UNASSISTED) 12:58

    Predators 1, Wild 1  1st - 7:02Apr 10 8:32 PM


  • NHL
    NASHVILLE 1
    MINNESOTA 0
    1ST PRD: NAS - JASON ARNOTT 32 (STEVE SULLIVAN) 7:18

    Predators 1, Wild 0  1st - 12:42Apr 10 8:20 PM