ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Mattias Ekholm scored his first goal of the season 1:45 into overtime, lifting Pekka Rinne and the Nashville Predators to a 6-5 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night.
Rinne made 22 saves for his NHL-leading 21st win.
Ekholm circled from behind the net and flipped a pretty wrist shot past Niklas Backstrom. The nice move silenced the crowd, which just moments earlier erupted when Thomas Vanek sent the game to overtime with 48 seconds to play.
Rookie Filip Forsberg scored his 13th goal to put Nashville in front 1:48 into the third, and Roman Josi made it 5-3 less than eight minutes later. Craig Smith, Matt Cullen and Calle Jarnkrok also scored for the Predators.
Zach Parise scored two goals for Minnesota, and Backstrom finished with 27 saves after replacing starter Darcy Kuemper, who had a rough first night back after missing a game with an illness. Kuemper allowed three first-period goals on 14 shots and was pulled for the third time in his last four home starts.
Nashville led 3-2 after Craig Smith backhanded a shot off Kuemper’s glove and into the net with just over a minute to play in the opening period. But the Wild tied it at 7:18 of the second when officials awarded Marco Scandella a power-play goal after a lengthy review.
With goalie Rinne facing the net, Scandella’s attempt off a rebound appeared to sneak under Derek Roy and defenseman Seth Jones, who was behind Rinne in the net.
After several minutes, referee Justin St. Pierre announced Scandella had been awarded the goal, and the NHL released a statement saying the review showed the puck “completely crossed the goal line.”
NOTES: Cullen scored his first goal against his former teammates. The Minnesota native played three seasons with the Wild from 2010-2013, recording 101 points (33 goals, 68 assists). . Wild LW Matt Cooke returned to the lineup after missing 22 games with a lower-body injury. C Ryan Carter (shoulder) also returned after missing three games, although the Wild lost C Mikael Granlund, who missed the game with an illness. . Smith has five goals and six assists in 13 career games against Minnesota.
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