NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- It remains to be see whether Ryan Suter gets the last laugh, but on Saturday night he certainly got the first one.
The former Nashville Predator assisted on a goal early in the second period and helped the Minnesota Wild hang on to get an eventual 2-1 shootout victory at the Bridgestone Arena.
Suter, who played a game-high 28:59, was booed every time he stepped on the ice and every time he touched the puck in his first game back in Nashville after signing with the Wild last offseason. But the All-Star defenseman launched a shot that teammate Nick Parise tipped in midway through the second period, accounting for the game's first goal, which would be good enough to get his team to overtime.
Despite a 4-on-3 power play in the extra period, the Wild couldn't finish. But Minnesota out-scored Nashville 2-1 in the shootout on goals by Mikko Koivu and Matt Cullen to get the win.
But the homecoming nearly didn't end well for Suter. The former Predator drew a penalty at the 5:53 mark of the third period, helping a struggling Nashville to score the tying goal on the ensuing power play as David Legwand slammed home a pass from Sergei Kostitsyn past Niklas Backstrom at 13:32 of the third.
That ignited a building that had little to make noise about except for booing Suter. But the Predators couldn't finish, either. Koivu went between Pekka Rinne's legs for the first shootout goal, and Cullen got one by the Finnish netminder as well on Minnesota's last chance to send the Wild to victory.
Craig Smith scored for Nashville just after Koivu lit the lamp, but David Legwand's tying attempt went off the post to end the game.
Backstrom stopped all but one of the 25 shots he faced as part of what his coach, Mike Yeo, credited as an all-around team effort.
"Our defensemen, our forwards, everyone contributed tonight right through the lineup," Yeo said. "That was a hard game and Nashville played a very good game, too. It almost had a playoff feel to it, to be honest with you, so when you play those kinds of games, you need everybody playing the right way, and we had that tonight."
All the energy went out of the building as soon as Legwand missed his shot, but Nashville's coach still found a silver lining.
"We're disappointed we didn't win the game, we're disappointed we didn't win the shootout," Predators coach Barry Trotz said. "But at the same time, when it gets to a shootout, I just say, 'Hey, it's a good point.'"
Nashville fans were particularly hurt by Suter's decision last summer to spurn a similar offer by the Predators, who've been to the playoffs seven of the last eight seasons, and sign with a Minnesota franchise that's not made the postseason since 2007-08.
Yet the "rebuilding" Wild ended Saturday night with as many points as Nashville despite playing two fewer games.
Still, Suter wished he'd gotten a better reception. The Wild's newest star was asked if he was "hurt" by the reception, and admitted he was, saying he tried to block out the boos.
"Yeah, I am," Suter said. "I spent seven years here, I had great respect for the fans -- I mean, I still do, it's part of being a fan, I understand that. It's tough to take, but it is what it is."
However, Suter admitted that winning the game eased the blow, adding, "If we can win the rest of our games and I get booed the whole game, that's all part of it."
Trotz, however, was not surprised by the rude reception after seeing Nashville fans' negative response to Suter's leaving on social media. The organization had considered a video tribute to their former star before the game, but decided against it for that reason.
"We won't put Ryan in a bad spot. The fans let him know. I think it was a real good decision by our organization, and they always do things first-class," Trotz said.
Adding insult to injury, the Predators' struggling offense took a huge blow when center Colin Wilson, the team's leader in goals (seven) and assists (12), went down along the boards early in the second period.
Wilson did not return, and the Predators announced he'd suffered an upper body injury.
"I don't have much of an update," Trotz said on Wilson's injury.
NOTES: Patric Hornqvist, who hurt his shoulder early in the second period of Friday's win over Edmonton, joined Jonathon Blum and Matt Halischuck as Predators scratches for Saturday. Blum sat for the second straight game after Nashville recalled Victor Bartley as part of a roster shakeup. ... The Predators' 54 goals entering Saturday night bested only the Wild (52) and San Jose (51), but the Predators had played two more games than each. ... It was the first game for Minnesota in four days. ... Minnesota goalie Matt Hackett was recalled on Friday for backup Darcy Kuemper, who's been placed on injured reserve with a groin injury. Hackett didn't play on Saturday. ... It was the Predators' 25th straight sellout.