- Associated Press - Sunday, December 20, 2015

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Mike Ribeiro and the Nashville Predators built an early lead and hung on for a much-needed win.

Ribeiro had a goal and an assist to lead the Predators to a 3-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night.

Filip Forsberg and James Neal also scored for Nashville, which ended a three-game slide. Shea Weber had two assists, and Pekka Rinne stopped an early penalty shot.

Zach Parise and Jason Zucker had goals for the Wild, who had won three in a row.

“Tough start, that’s for sure,” Minnesota coach Mike Yeo said. “The first period was not us and they were ready. We knew they would be ready. They were desperate and reeling a little bit here, so we knew that they would be ready to go. And then we had a push at the end and we started to get some momentum off that. It was a little too late.”

Forsberg scored 46 seconds into the game. Standing in front of Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk, Forsberg was able to redirect Weber’s wrist shot from the left point for his seventh goal of the season.

Dubnyk finished with 36 saves.

Rinne did not face a Wild shot on goal until 8:28 of the first period, and it came on Zucker’s penalty shot.

Zucker was hooked from behind on a breakaway by Nashville defenseman Ryan Ellis. Rinne was able to glove down the backhand attempt.

“He probably would have liked to have had a couple just to feel the puck a little before you have to face a penalty shot,” Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. “Even during the penalty shot, he looked really strong. He was dead on with what he was doing.”

Ribeiro doubled Nashville’s lead at 14:11 of the first.

With the Predators on their second two-man advantage of the first period, Ribeiro tipped Weber’s one-timer from the high slot by Dubnyk for his fourth of the season.

“I think if I watch the replay, my eyes are closed,” Ribeiro said. “I think even if it doesn’t touch me it goes in anyway, but I’ll take it.”

Neal made it 3-0 at 8:06 of the second with a wrist shot from the left circle that beat Dubnyk to the short side.

Neal leads Nashville with 13 goals this season.

Less than a minute later, Minnesota cut it to 3-1 when Marco Scandella’s slap shot deflected off Parise and by Rinne at 8:49.

Zucker corralled a puck in the slot following a faceoff and snapped a wrist shot high to Rinne’s glove side to make it 3-2 at 8:35 of the third.

“The third period, that’s when we wanted to play,” Zucker said. “It was pretty much the entire 20 minutes of that period and it showed. We got that goal, a big goal from Zach and that really picked us up and got us going from there.”

Rinne finished with 20 saves.

NOTES: Parise extended his scoring streak to seven games, his longest with the Wild. … Dubnyk is 7-5-2 against the Predators. … Nashville is 10-1-2 when leading after two periods. … Ribeiro’s goal was his first since Dec. 1. … Weber leads Nashville in power-play points with 14.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide