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Predators 3, Wild 2

The SportsXchange

NASHVILLE -- One quick burst of offense and the goaltending of Pekka Rinne got Nashville Predators into the win column.

Scoring all of their goals in a 6-minute, 7-second span of the first period, the Predators edged the Minnesota Wild 3-2 in their home opener Tuesday night at sold-out Bridgestone Arena.

Nashville (1-2-0) bounced back from losses at St. Louis and Colorado, while the Wild (0-1-2) may have lost more than a game. Goaltender Niklas Backstrom, who tied for the NHL lead in wins last year with 24, left at 11:14 of the first period with a right leg injury.

Minnesota defenseman Keith Ballard slashed Eric Nystrom on a breakaway, knocking him into Backstrom, whose right leg hit the goal post. After attention from the team's medical staff, Backstrom skated off the ice and into the locker room. Team officials said the injury would be re-evaluated Wednesday.

Backup Josh Harding replaced him and promptly gave up a penalty shot goal to Nystrom, capping the Predators' offensive surge. After managing just three goals in its first two matches, Nashville equaled that total by taking advantage of a couple of quick power plays.

With Kyle Brodziak and Mikko Koivu in the penalty box for interference and tripping, respectively, the Predators tied it at 1 on Filip Forsberg's first NHL goal, a rebound from the left faceoff circle at 5:07.

Colin Wilson's wrist shot from the right faceoff circle whizzed over Backstrom's stick 39 seconds later, giving Nashville its first lead of the season.

It would protect that advantage for the game's remainder despite getting outshot 34-25. Rinne turned away 32 shots, including a pad save in the last 15 seconds on a slapper by former Predators defenseman Ryan Suter.

Zach Parise put the Wild ahead 1-0 at 4:05 of the first on a power play tip-in off a sweet pass from Koivu. Jared Spurgeon edged Minnesota within a goal on a power play marker from the high slot at 7:26 of the second.

NOTES: Nashville played without D Roman Josi (concussion), who was injured on a hit by Colorado's Steve Downie Friday night in a 3-1 loss in Denver. It also did without LW Viktor Stalberg (shoulder) for the third straight game. ... Minnesota didn't have the services of C Charlie Coyle (knee) and LW Mike Rupp (lower body). Coyle is expected to miss between 3 and 4 weeks. ... The Wild recalled LW Jason Zucker and RW Carson McMillan from Iowa of the American Hockey League. Zucker dressed, while McMillan was scratched. ... Nashville entered the night ranked seventh in faceoff percentage at 54.2 percent. It was tied for 18th (49.7 percent) in the shortened 2013 season.
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