Johansen sends Predators past Wild again, 5-4 in shootout
Johansen skated in slowly on Devan Dubnyk before beating the sprawled-out netminder for the lone goal in a shootout, and the Predators beat Minnesota 5-4 on Tuesday for their second win against the Wild in three nights.
“It’s nice,” Johansen said. “It’s a tough spot when all eyes are just on you and you have to go down and make a play. It’s nice to be able to help the team win and contribute in that way.”
Johansen also got the game-winner in the fourth round of a shootout Sunday when the Predators edged the Wild 3-2 in Minnesota, pushing the puck past the outstretched pad of Alex Stalock. This time, he scored after Kyle Turris, Ryan Ellis and Filip Forsberg all were stopped.
Dubnyk immediately called for the goal to be waved off, arguing Johansen stopped completely on his approach. He called the goal a “mockery.”
“Obviously, I’m frustrated because we’re on the wrong side of it, but you’ve got a guy standing at the top of the crease not moving, stickhandling,” Dubnyk said. “I’m down and out and he stands there and looks at me while I’m trying to lift my pad up and still waits and then shoots the puck in the net.”
Viktor Arvidsson had a goal and an assist. Roman Josi, Brian Boyle and Craig Smith also scored for Nashville, which clinched the season series by winning the first three games. The final matchup between the Central Division rivals is March 25 in Minnesota.
Nashville coach Peter Laviolette called Johansen’s shootout style “methodical.” Josi said he isn’t sure how his teammate does it.
“I would be way too nervous to hold onto the puck for that long, but he does it every game and he’s pretty good at it,” Josi said.
Kevin Fiala scored two goals in his first multi-goal game this season against his old team, the second forcing OT to earn the Wild a point in their seventh straight game. Pontus Aberg and Eric Fehr each scored for Minnesota, which entered in the second wild-card slot in the Western Conference.
Wild coach Bruce Boudreau took his timeout with 2:22 left in regulation, and Minnesota scored off the faceoff. The puck squirted over to Fiala, who scored from the edge of the slot.
“He showed that he’s got some pretty good skills, and they were on display,” Boudreau said.
In the shootout, Fiala hit the post. Aberg also missed, and Zach Parise lost the puck before his shot for Minnesota.
This game was opposite night, with the Predators’ latest trade acquisitions finally debuting in Nashville after Wayne Simmonds joined his new team a week ago in St. Louis and Mikael Granlund played his first two games on the road. And both Fiala and Anthony Bitetto played their first game back in Nashville after the Predators swapped Fiala for Granlund at the deadline.
The Predators took a 1-0 lead when Smith scored at 1:48 with a snap shot from the slot off a rebound for a 1-0 lead.
When Smith couldn’t handle the puck in the neutral zone, Fiala skated in and took it away. He skated up to the left circle and squeezed the puck between Rinne’s stick and the post for his first goal with Minnesota and 11th of the season to tie it 1-all at 15:25.
The Predators made those trades, including a deal adding Boyle on Feb. 6, to boost the NHL’s worst power-play unit. Boyle parked himself in front of Dubnyk on Nashville’s first man advantage of the game, and he screened Dubnyk on P.K. Subban’s snap shot from the point for a 2-1 lead at 13:38 of the second.
Aberg tied it again at 17:49, scoring off a wrister past his former teammate.
Wild forward Jason Zucker went to the locker room after a collision knocked him to the ice early in the third and later returned. Minnesota took a 3-2 lead on Fehr’s shot from the slot off an assist from Marcus Foligno at 2:25, but it lasted only 24 seconds before Josi scored his 15th this season off a wrister.
Arvidsson put Nashville up 4-3 with the Predators’ second goal of the third period, skating up the right side and snapping off a shot from the right circle that went under Dubnyk’s right arm. The goal was Arvidsson’s 28th this season and 14th in 21 games.
NOTES: Josi tied his career high with his 15th goal. … Matt Donovan got his first point with Nashville when he assisted on Smith’s goal, the defenseman’s first point in the NHL since Dec. 11, 2014. … Nashville defenseman Yannick Weber was out with an upper-body injury.
Wild: Visit the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night.
Predators: Host the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night.