NASHVILLE – Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk disagreed with Predators center Ryan Johansen’s shootout goal against backup Alex Stalock on Sunday, a backhander that rolled in while Johansen’s stick caught a piece of Stalock’s pad to deal Nashville a 3-2 win at Xcel Energy Center.
And Dubnyk also had an issue with Johansen’s move Tuesday when he was between the pipes, and Johansen scored another fourth-round clincher in a 5-4 decision in front of 17,668 at Bridgestone Arena that sealed a home-and-home sweep for the Predators over the Wild.
“I don’t mind shootouts,” Dubnyk said, “but if you want some example of why maybe not, there’s one. That’s two games in a row. It’s a mockery. We’re trying to make the playoffs.”
With both teams scoreless through three rounds, Johansen slowed down as he approached the net before deking and eventually lifting the puck over an outstretched Dubnyk. Winger Ryan Donato missed the Wild’s next try, after Kevin Fiala, Pontus Aberg and Zach Parise had already blanked, so Johansen’s tally emerged as the winner.
“To me, he’s completely stopped,” Dubnyk said. “It’s frustrating. That’s two games in a row. He shoves Al’s pad in the net. If he’s not stopped, he’s not stopped. But I don’t understand how you come in and stop at the top of the crease and stand there and stickhandle and wait.”
Coach Bruce Boudreau interpreted the déjà vu moment differently, believing Johansen kept moving.
“I didn’t think he stopped the forward motion,” he said. “So to me it was a good goal.”
Although missing out on a second point stung, the Wild extended its point streak to a season-high seven games (5-0-2) and remained in the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference with 72 points after a late goal in the third period pushed the action to extra time.
“The one thing about our team recently [is] we don’t quit,” Boudreau said. “We keep fighting and fighting.”
Two former Predators were behind this latest rally. Fiala scored twice and Aberg chipped in a goal — their firsts with the Wild. “It was fun,” Fiala said. “But we wanted those two points.”
Fiala’s second goal came with 2 minutes, 18 seconds left in the third period, a rising shot that tied it at 4. He almost completed a hat trick in overtime, but Pekka Rinne, who made 29 saves, made a slick glove stop.
“He showed that he’s got some pretty good skills,” Boudreau said of Fiala. “They were on display.”
The Wild began chasing the Predators early. Winger Craig Smith got a rebound goal just 1:48 into the first. Fiala evened it with 4:35 to go on a short-side shot in his first game back in Nashville since he was traded to the Wild on Feb. 25 for forward Mikael Granlund.
Nashville retook the lead at 13:38 of the second on a deflection by winger Brian Boyle during the Predators’ only power play, but Aberg connected on a snap shot at 17:49.
Only 34 seconds after center Eric Fehr put the Wild ahead on a one-timer at 2:25 of the third period, the Predators made it 3-3 when captain Roman Josi cut to the net and went to his forehand.
And then at 8:21, winger Viktor Arvidsson squeezed a shot through Dubnyk’s armpit — a finish that looked to be the decisive until Fiala’s tally.
The Wild had a 4-on-3 power play in overtime to try to complete its comeback but failed to convert and went 0-for-4 with the man advantage.
“It’s nice to get the point because we want to keep this good feeling going,” said Dubnyk, who made 21 saves. “We certainly deserved a point if not two.”