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Wild edge Predators at end of OT, win fifth straight

Sportsnaut
Apr 24, 2022; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Nashville Predators goaltender David Rittich (33) makes a save against Minnesota Wild right wing Ryan Hartman (38) during the first period at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Dmitry Kulikov scored the overtime winner just before the buzzer and Joel Eriksson Ek scored twice in a three-point outing to lead the visiting Minnesota Wild to a 5-4 victory over the Nashville Predators on Sunday.

Kevin Fiala and Nick Bjugstad also scored for the Wild (51-21-7, 109 points), who surrendered three leads but survived to extend their winning streak to five games. Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury made 21 saves.

Filip Forsberg collected his 40th goal of the season in a three-point game, while Matt Duchene, Ryan Johansen and Dante Fabbro scored once for the Predators (44-29-6, 94 points). Nashville holds the Western Conference’s first wild-card playoff spot despite a 3-4-2 slump. Goalie David Rittich stopped 42 shots.

Duchene added an assist, and Mikael Granlund recorded three assists for the Predators.

With a shootout looming, Eriksson Ek created a breakaway chance for Kulikov, and he converted with 1.3 seconds left in the overtime for his seventh goal of the season.

A crazy middle frame in which both teams took and blew a lead was kicked off by Eriksson Ek’s first of the game during a scramble at the 6:36 mark.

The Predators responded with a pair of power-play goals past the midway point. Duchene notched his 41st of the year by converting a sharp-angled attempt at 10:40 of the period. Johansen tallied his 24th of the season on a rebound at 13:38.

However, the Wild replied with a pair of goals 70 seconds apart just before the break. Eriksson Ek notched his second of the game, and 25th of the season, by one-timing Fiala’s slick cross-ice feed with 93 seconds remaining in the period. Fiala added his 33rd by sniping a back-hand shot from the slot with 22.8 seconds remaining in the period.

To no surprise, the back and forth didn’t end there. Fabbro netted his third of the season with 5:40 remaining in regulation with a shot that ricocheted into the net off a defender to send the game to overtime.

The clubs traded first-period goals, with Bjugstad’s power-play goal at 11:05 opening the scoring. Forsberg only had to tap in a puck on the line with three seconds left on the clock.

–Field Level Media