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OT power play leads to Wild's game-winner

The SportsXchange

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Devin Setoguchi picked the right time to get his first goal of the year.

Setoguchi scored on the power play with 38.2 seconds left in overtime, and the Minnesota Wild beat the Nashville Predators 2-1 Saturday night.

Setoguchi took a pass from Mikko Koivu, and his slap shot from the left face-off dot found the bottom left corner of the net.

"The last couple games I've been getting the chances and opportunities to score; it just hasn't been going in," Setoguchi said. "To get one tonight, it definitely feels good, and to get one in overtime, it feels great because the main thing here is to win the game."

Cal Clutterbuck also scored for Minnesota, which ended a three-game slide in which it was outscored 9-3.

Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom, who was pulled Thursday after allowing four goals in two periods during a 4-1 loss to Vancouver, stopped 25 shots Saturday. He is 19-2-4 in his career in games after being lifted.

"I thought it was a real gutsy win for the boys," Minnesota center Kyle Brodziak said. "In the third, we got into a little bit of penalty trouble but found a way to fight through it, drew a penalty of our own and capitalized on it. Hopefully, we can build on it."

Paul Gaustad scored for the Predators, who lost for the first time in five games.

Nashville goaltender Chris Mason, making just his second start of the year, stopped 30 shots. His only other start was a 3-1 win in Minnesota three weeks ago.

In overtime, Gaustad was whistled for a faceoff violation for hitting the puck with his hand, giving Minnesota a power play. Setoguchi scored shortly before the Predators could kill the penalty.

Nashville coach Barry Trotz said the call against Gaustad should not have been made.

"The rule states you can't win a faceoff with your hand. Everything that we talked about was tying someone up and winning it with your free hand and pushing it back," he said, "It's a bad drop, it bounces three feet in the air, lands on top of his hand, and he swipes at it. It's a natural reaction. That's not the intent of that rule. ...

"He had two hands on the stick. It's not like he's using a free hand, so I'm going to get an explanation from the league. For me it was a poor call, a questionable call at a very important time of the game."

Said Gaustad: "The interpretation of the rule, I thought, is intentional glove play. The drop goes up in the air three feet, I'm on my movement, hits the top of my glove without me trying to do it. I think they probably should explain the rules a little more clear to us."

For the eighth time in its past 11 games, Nashville scored first when Gaustad fought off a check in front to poke a rebound past the fallen Backstrom midway through the first period. It was Gaustad's first goal of the season.

The Wild had better offensive chances much of the night but continued to struggle with its conversions. It was just the sixth time in 11 starts that Minnesota scored more than one goal.

Mason reached back to stop Koivu on a power play less than two minutes after Gaustad's goal, and Setoguchi nearly tied it in the waning seconds of the first period. With Mason out of position after making a save, defenseman Ryan Ellis dived back into the crease to poke the puck away just as Setoguchi was about to push it into an open net.

The Wild evened the score midway through the second period when Clutterbuck tipped a wrist shot from Ryan Suter behind Mason.

Nashville, last in the league in shots, finished with 26, seven of which came on a four-minute power play in the third period. The Predators went 0-for-6 with the man-advantage.

The Wild were 1-for-4 on the power play, and they are 2-for-16 in their past six games.

"There's a lot of good things about this game: penalty killing, goaltending, power-play goal at the end," Wild coach Mike Yeo said. "There's a lot of things that could have set us back, but the guys stuck with it. The mood on the bench was great. It seemed like there was no doubt we were going to win that game."

NOTES: Wild defenseman Tom Gilbert has three goals this season, which matches his total in 67 games last season. ... Minnesota defenseman Nate Prosser played for the first time in seven games, replacing Marco Scandella on the blue line. ... Only three Predators entered the game negative in the plus/minus category. Minnesota has just one player, Pierre-Marc Bouchard (plus-2), with a positive number. ... This was Nashville's eighth road game in 11 starts. ... The Predators start a four-game homestand Sunday against Chicago. Minnesota begins a two-game road trip Monday in Calgary.
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