NHL Hockey

Saros' shutout lifts Predators over Wild 1-0

(AP Photo/Jim Mone)

By PATRICK DONNELLY

Associated Press

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) Ryan Donato's bid to tie the game caromed off the crossbar, and the Minnesota Wild were stuck with another agonizing defeat.

Juuse Saros made 29 saves for his third shutout of the season and Ryan Johansen scored a short-handed goal as the Nashville Predators beat the Wild 1-0 Monday night.

With 1:30 to play and an extra skater on the ice, Donato found himself 1-on-1 with Saros in the left faceoff circle. His wrist shot beat the goalie but hit the crossbar, leaving Donato inches from scoring the game-tying goal.

"That sort of epitomizes the way it was going, and the season," Minnesota coach Bruce Boudreau said. "Getting chances to score and not burying them."

Minnesota is 2-7-1 in its last 10 games and 2-8-4 in its last 14 home games. The Wild, who remain two points out of the last playoff spot in the West with five games to play, have scored just four goals in their last four games.

"This is the most pivotal time of the year for us, and we can't have games where the pucks just don't find a way into the net," Donato said. "You've got to find a way to force one in. We only needed one and we didn't do that."

Meanwhile, the Predators clinched a spot in the Western Conference playoffs with the win. They are in second place in the Central Division, two points behind Winnipeg. It's the fifth playoff appearance in coach Peter Laviolette's five years with the Predators.

"It's a credit to the guys in the room," Laviolette said. "Everybody goes into the year with good intentions and everybody has a plan in mind, and I'm sure they're all including the playoffs. So it's not an easy thing and should never be taken for granted. But our guys worked hard to get to this point."

The Wild put heavy pressure on Saros after pulling goalie Devan Dubnyk in the final 2 1/2 minutes. Aside from Donato's crossbar, Saros stood firm as Eric Staal deflected Donato's centering pass into the crease and made three other saves down the stretch.

"There's a lot of players in front when the other team pulls the goalie," Saros said, "so I try to find the puck and hope that the guys score on the other end."

Minnesota's power play came up empty on three opportunities and gave up the game's only goal as Johansen scored his 12th goal of the season short-handed, just 4:32 into the first period.

With Craig Smith in the box for tripping, Viktor Arvidsson led a 3-on-2 Predators rush, dropping the puck for Johansen just over the Minnesota blue line. Johansen skated to the high slot and his wrist shot beat Dubnyk, who stopped 18 of 19 shots for Minnesota.

"Getting the lead is always very important. We know that just from numbers, that first goal, what it can do in games," Johansen said. "I had a bunch of time there in the middle of the ice. Good to see one go in."

Now, the Predators can concentrate on jockeying for postseason position the rest of the season while the Wild have to fight for their playoff lives.

"It is a helpless position. There's not much we can do about it. Again, the dominos have got to fall in the right area," Boudreau said. "As long as there's a breath in our body and we have an opportunity, we're going to go out and try to play like we did today."

NOTES: Minnesota played its second straight game without F Zach Parise (lower-body injury). ... Nashville forward Rem Pitlick made his NHL debut on Monday. He recently finished a three-year career at the University of Minnesota. Pitlick is the son of former Senators and Panthers defenseman Lance Pitlick. ... The Predators swept back-to-back games against the Wild in early March, both in shootouts.

UP NEXT

Predators: At Pittsburgh on Friday.

Wild: At Vegas on Friday.

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More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Updated March 26, 2019

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Teams Score Time
NCAA FB
Appalachian State   Sat 3:30pm
North Carolina  
Ball State   Sat 7:00pm
NC State  
NHL
Carolina 3 F
Tampa Bay 0
Tampa Bay   7:00pm
Carolina  
Teams Score Time
Air Force   Fri 9:00pm
Boise State  
Utah   Fri 9:00pm
USC  
Boston College   Sat 12:00pm
Rutgers  
Elon   Sat 12:00pm
Wake Forest  
LSU   Sat 12:00pm
Vanderbilt  
Michigan State   Sat 12:00pm
Northwestern  
Michigan   Sat 12:00pm
Wisconsin  
Southern Mississippi   Sat 12:00pm
Alabama  
Tennessee   Sat 12:00pm
Florida  
Western Michigan   Sat 12:00pm
Syracuse  
Appalachian State   Sat 3:30pm
North Carolina  
Auburn   Sat 3:30pm
Texas A&M  
Louisville   Sat 3:30pm
Florida State  
Miami (OH)   Sat 3:30pm
Ohio State  
UCF   Sat 3:30pm
Pittsburgh  
Washington   Sat 3:30pm
BYU  
Central Michigan   Sat 4:00pm
Miami  
Ball State   Sat 7:00pm
NC State  
Old Dominion   Sat 7:00pm
Virginia  
Oregon   Sat 7:00pm
Stanford  
Charlotte   Sat 7:30pm
Clemson  
Oklahoma State   Sat 7:30pm
Texas  
Notre Dame   Sat 8:00pm
Georgia  
UCLA   Sat 10:30pm
Washington State  
Teams Score Time
Interleague
Seattle 6 F
Pittsburgh 0
San Francisco 7 F
Boston 6
Tampa Bay 5 F
Los Angeles 7
Seattle   7:05pm
Pittsburgh  
San Francisco   7:10pm
Boston  
Tampa Bay   8:10pm
Los Angeles  
American League
Los Angeles 0 F
New York 8
Toronto 8 F
Baltimore 5
Detroit 2 F
Cleveland 7
Chicago 8 F
Minnesota 9
Texas 1 F
Houston 4
Kansas City 1 F
Oakland 2
Kansas City   3:37pm
Oakland  
Los Angeles   6:35pm
New York  
Toronto   7:05pm
Baltimore  
Detroit   7:10pm
Cleveland  
Chicago   7:40pm
Minnesota  
Texas   8:10pm
Houston  
National League
Philadelphia 5 F
Atlanta 4
San Diego 1 F
Milwaukee 3
Washington 6 F
St. Louis 2
Cincinnati 4 F
Chicago 2
New York 6 F
Colorado 1
Miami 12 F
Arizona 6
Washington   1:15pm
St. Louis  
New York   3:10pm
Colorado  
Miami   3:40pm
Arizona  
Philadelphia   7:20pm
Atlanta  
San Diego   7:40pm
Milwaukee  
Cincinnati   8:05pm
Chicago  
Teams Score Time
Tennessee   Thu 8:20pm
Jacksonville  
Teams Score Time
Ottawa 3 F
Toronto 1
Buffalo 1 F
Columbus 4
Carolina 3 F
Tampa Bay 0
Philadelphia 2 F/OT
New York 3
Chicago 3 F
Detroit 5
Dallas 2 F/OT
Minnesota 1
Vegas 5 F
Colorado 0
Anaheim 4 F
San Jose 3
Edmonton 2 F
Vancouver 4
Los Angeles 4 F
Arizona 1
Arizona 5 F
Los Angeles 0
Florida   7:00pm
Montreal  
New Jersey   7:00pm
New York  
St. Louis   7:00pm
Washington  
Tampa Bay   7:00pm
Carolina  
Toronto   7:30pm
Ottawa  
Minnesota   8:00pm
Winnipeg  
Detroit   8:30pm
Chicago  
San Jose   9:00pm
Calgary  
MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES AT LAS VEGAS
Pos # Name Start Pos
1 19 Martin Truex Jr 24
2 4 Kevin Harvick 3
3 2 Brad Keselowski 18
4 9 Chase Elliott 8
5 12 Ryan Blaney 23
6 88 Alex Bowman 19
7 24 William Byron 14
8 42 Kyle Larson 15
9 22 Joey Logano 22
NASCAR XFINITY SERIES AT LAS VEGAS
Pos # Name Start Pos
1 2 Tyler Reddick 4
2 20 Christopher Bell 2
3 19 Brandon Jones 6
4 00 Cole Custer 1
5 7 Justin Allgaier 3
6 9 Noah Gragson 36
7 08 Gray Gaulding 16
8 23 John Hunter Nemechek 13
9 18 Riley Herbst 15
NASCAR GANDER OUTDOORS TRUCK SERIES AT LAS VEGAS
Pos # Name Start Pos
1 16 Austin Hill 7
2 45 Ross Chastain 2
3 51 Christian Eckes 1
4 2 Sheldon Creed 6
5 4 Todd Gilliland 3
6 30 Brennan Poole 18
7 24 Brett Moffitt 4
8 99 Ben Rhodes 13
9 18 Harrison Burton 9