ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- The Nashville Predators are halfway
through a 16-day stretch without a home game.
They couldn't be much happier.
Shea Weber scored the go-ahead goal in the third period and
Nashville edged the Minnesota Wild 4-3 on Saturday night, extending
their franchise-best, road-winning streak to seven games.
"Maybe we should just keep playing on the road. We've been
pretty solid," Weber said with a smile.
Paul Kariya, Steve Sullivan and Kimmo Timonen also scored for
Nashville, which has won five straight and nine of 10. The
Predators have scored at least three goals in eight consecutive
Pavol Demitra, Petteri Nummelin, Mark Parrish scored for
Minnesota, which lost at home for the first time in 12 games,
dating to last season. It was also the Wild's first home loss to
the Predators since Oct. 31, 2001 -- a span of nine games.
"I don't think anyone in here was worried about a win streak.
Our goal is to go in and win every game," Parrish said. "We have
to go on the road here, five-game swing, and we want to win every
single one of those games as well."
Nashville's win was the fourth of a five-game trip that has
already sent the Predators to Calgary, Vancouver and Edmonton. It
concludes Friday in Detroit.
"It's all about hard work, mental toughness, sticking with it,
and now it's confidence," Sullivan said. "We're confident in our
ability to win on the road. We're confident every time we put on
the jersey that if we play our best there's no reason we can't win
the hockey game."
With the game tied at 3, Weber took a pass from Sullivan and
beat a screened Manny Fernandez from the slot 3:34 into the final
period for his second goal of the season.
Weber also scored in Wednesday's win at Edmonton, the Oilers'
lone home loss. He had two goals in 28 games last season.
"Any way you can chip in is always good," he said. "I've been
fortunate to get a few points and I hope it continues to roll."
Tomas Vokoun stopped 25 shots, improving to 7-0-1 in eight
starts since allowing six goals to the Wild on Oct. 7. His biggest
save was a left pad stop against Brian Rolston on a short-handed
breakaway midway through the final period.
"I think this a reflection of the whole team," he said. "This
is a team sport and you can't do it by yourself. As a team we've
been playing some very good hockey. You can't have this kind of
streak without the whole team playing well."
Predators coach Barry Trotz was especially pleased with his
team's third-period performance, when Nashville played strong
defensively and limited Minnesota to six shots.
"I felt pretty fortunate that we got through two periods
tied," he said. "I thought in the third period we kicked it up
and played much better."
Sullivan had another theory.
"I think we were a bit more tired and not running around as
much," he said. "I think we waited for them to come to us instead
of trying to go after them and kill the puck that way. We decided
to play good positional defensive hockey and we were able to
weather off their attacks."
Nummelin gave Minnesota a 1-0 lead with a wrist shot from the
top of the slot 2:58 into the first period. The goal was his first
in the NHL since April 1, 2001, with Columbus. He played the last
five years in the Swiss League.
Sullivan, who had three points in the teams' first meeting this
season, tied it less than two minutes later when, left alone low in
the right circle, he beat Fernandez.
Timonen scored on the power play at 16:57, when his shot
deflected off two Wild players and into the net.
"I felt we played a good game," Minnesota coach Jacques
Lemaire said. "We only made a couple of mistakes at the wrong time
which they capitalized on and that was it. That is the type of team
Minnesota tied it at two at 4:13 of the second when Demitra
finished a 3-on-1 rush by beating Vokoun with a wrist shot high on
the glove side.
Kariya and Parrish traded goals less than two minutes apart
later in the period.
Nashville LW Martin Erat returned to the lineup after
missing Wednesday's game with a bruised rib. He had one assist. ...
Minnesota C Wes Walz returned after missing two games with a leg
injury, but LW Derek Boogaard missed his second straight game with
a lower body injury. ... Minnesota lost for the first time in 10
games it was tied or leading after two periods.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
Arena: Xcel Energy Center Location: Saint Paul, Minnesota
Referees: Kevin Pollock, Justin St. Pierre Linesmen: Shane Heyer, Thor Nelson
Attendance: 18,568 (102.8% full)
Team Stat Comparison
Power Play Goals
Power Play Opportunities
Shots on Goal
Petteri Nummelin (1)
Assist: Brent Burns
Steve Sullivan (6)
Assists: Vernon Fiddler, J.P. Dumont
Kimmo Timonen (2)
(Power Play) Assist: Jason Arnott
Pavol Demitra (3)
Assists: Mikko Koivu, Petteri Nummelin
Paul Kariya (3)
Assists: Martin Erat, Marek Zidlicky
Mark Parrish (3)
(Power Play) Assists: Mikko Koivu, Pavol Demitra
Shea Weber (2)
Assists: Steve Sullivan, Dan Hamhuis