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 on Saturday evening.
Suter 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. 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.
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.
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.