Referees screw Predators in overtime

(Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/Getty Images)

The Nashville Predators were shafted by the referees in overtime, losing to the Minnesota Wild, 2-1. In a game that very well shouldn’t have gone to overtime, the Predators were unable to capitalize on six power play chances. Meanwhile, the Wild were able to snap a three game losing streak in front of over 18,000 fans at Xcel Energy Center. But looking on the positive of Saturday night, Nashville was able to get a point.

In front of family and friends, Paul Gaustad was able to score the first goal of the game 10:11 in. The goal was started with Craig Smith doing his job in putting the puck on the net. That led to the goal with bodies and sticks attempting to put the puck in the net. Luckily, it was Gaustad’s who was able to put it home. Soon after on the penalty kill, Gaustad unfortunately hit the post.

Then led the parade to the penalty box where four Predators and three Wild players were sent to the box. Martin Erat took two penalties, back-to-back, with the most notable being his roughing call for running into goaltender Niklas Backstrom while he was going after the puck, out of his crease. It wasn’t big contact, but left Wild players mad, especially Nate Prosser who got away with kicking and punching Erat while he was on the ice, trying to pick himself up.

Just before the first period ended, defenseman Ryan Ellis made a big save that kept Nashville their lead. Dany Heatley’s shot left a rebound inches away from crossing the goal line with Devin Setoguchi eyeing the puck. Ellis cleared the puck away before Seteguchi could put the puck home.

Midway through the second period, newly acquired Minnesota forward Mike Rupp was denied by Chris Mason on a breakaway during the penalty kill. Mason’s left leg pad was stretched out to make sure no puck would get by. The Wild continued their pressure 12:59 in, when Cal Clutterbuck deflected a shot from Ryan Suter at the point past the netminder to tie the game up.

Scott Hannan was high-sticked in the face by Setoguchi that drew blood, which allowed the Predators to have a four minute power play. Unfortunately, Nashville was unable to convert on an opportunity as gold as their home jerseys, but they were still able to generate a few chances involving Shea Weber’s that missed the net backdoor.

The rest of regulation was scoreless and the game went to overtime. Goaltender Mason played well and continued robbing players of sure goals in extra time.

Overtime could have been ended with Ellis being the game winner after he missed a great chance to score with Backstrom scrambling to get back in position. Ellis, in the high slot, was stopped by Backstrom stacking the pads. Gaustad was given a penalty for delay of game off the faceoff that left him and head coach Barry Trotz up in arms. Of course, the Wild capitalized on the powerplay with Setoguchi doing the honors from the near circle giving the Wild a much needed win in overtime, 2-1.

Line Up Report

Starting Goaltenders:

Name SV SH Goals Allowed SV% Decision TOI
#30 Chris Mason 30 32 2 .938 L 64:21
#32 Niklas Backstrom 25 26 1 .962 W 64:21

Predators Scratches: #23 W Brian McGrattan and #24 W Matt Halischuk

Wild Scratches: #6 D Marco Scandella, #17 C Torrey Mitchell and #42 W Matt Kassian

Gaustad’s penalty: 2:11 in overtime, Paul Gaustad was given a penalty for “delay of game – faceoff violation”. It appeared that the faceoff ace unintentionally knocked the puck out of the air with both hands on the stick after the puck drop. Gaustad, his team mates and coaches were in total disbelief of the call that led to the Minnesota Wild game winner.

There was a new rule change to Rule 76.4 the league made prior to the season starting that states, "both players facing-off are prohibited from batting the puck with their hand in an attempt to win the face-off. Any attempt by either center to win the face-off by batting the puck with their hand shall result in a minor penalty. This penalty shall be announced as a 'Minor Penalty for Delay of Game – Face-off Violation.'"

With this being the rule, there shouldn't have been a penalty with it being unintentional. The penalty caused the Predators to lose the game and the extra point.

Ryan Suter: It took two tries for former Nashville defenseman Ryan Suter to get a win against his old club. Suter was involved in all three goals of the game, finishing with two assists and a +1. However, Craig Smith embarrassed Suter by deking around the defenseman to put the puck on net.

Backstrom bowled over, Erat victim: In the first period, forward Martin Erat chased after the puck and attempted to get there before goaltender Niklas Backstrom could. Backstrom came out of his net and left his crease to cover the puck. Erat, who wasn’t able to stop in time to avoid the goalie, ran into him. In doing so caused Backstrom’s mask to fall off. Erat was down to the ice attempting to protect himself while Wild players were defending their netminder, including defenseman Nate Prosser who was able to get away with punching and kicking Erat in, or near, the face.

While fans and players know, touching the goalie will not be tolerated, but neither should kicking. Kicking usually isn’t tolerated by the referees, but they missed that one. Luckily, Prosser didn’t make too much contact on Erat or there could have been a serious injury.

After all was settled, Erat was given a roughing penalty, while Backstrom received a delay of game for covering the puck.

Goals and Assists

1-0 NSH: Paul Gaustad – Smith at 10:11 in the 1st

1-1 Tied: Cal Clutterbuck – Suter and Cullen at 12:59 in the 2nd

2-1 MIN: PP Devin Setoguchi – Koivu and Suter (2) at 4:21 in OT

My Three Stars of the Game

1. Devin Setoguchi: GWG in OT

2. Chris Mason: 30 saves on 32 shots

3. Ryan Suter:  2 assists