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Preds wanted for grand larceny in Minnesota…

The NHL All-Star Break is over and the Nashville Predators didn’t exactly pick up where they left off.

But they still won.

In front of 17,325 at Xcel Energy Center, the Preds stunned the Minnesota Wild faithful (and the Wild themselves, for that matter) by scoring four unanswered goals in the third period to comeback from a 4-1 deficit to win.

Lost in the commotion of the dramatic comeback is Pekka Rinne‘s 10th consecutive win and 11th victory in the month of January.

Of his 21 saves, one in particular stands out. In the third period, with the Predators down 4-2, the Wild broke in 2-on-1. He went post-to-post for a miraculous save that kept the game within reach. Little did he know what the importance of that one save would be.

The Wild drew first blood midway through the opening period when Dany Heatley found the puck on his stick in the low slot. There wasn’t a Preds player within 12 feet of him and he capitalized, putting the puck past Rinne to make it 1-0.

Moments later, on the power play, Heatley got free in front of Rinne again and potted his second of the game (and 17th of the season) to make it 2-0, Minnesota.

The onslaught didn’t end with the first period, however. To start the second, Cal Clutterbuck skated hard down the wing, forcing Kevin Klein to turn around, got past the Preds defenseman and put a simple shot on net. The rebound caromed off of Clutterbuck’s skate and slid into the net as Rinne backed up into his net.

Nashville finally broke through halfway through the contest when Matt Halischuk deflected a Klein shot past Josh Harding to make it 3-1, Minnesota.

That new life they found didn’t last long though. Just 0:16 into the final frame, Kyle Brodziak came out from behind the net and put one past Rinne to make it 4-1.

The Predators tried to wrestle some momentum away from the Wild when Yip scored his first goal in a Nashville sweater. After a lengthy video review, it was deemed that the puck had crossed the goal line under Harding’s left leg. Despite it being called no-goal on the ice, the War Room in Toronto overturned it and awarded the tally to the Preds, making the deficit just two.

With under 4:00 remaining, Nashville made things interesting when Patric Hornqvist jammed home his 15th of the season to pull within one.

Then, before anyone in the building could collect their thoughts, Mike Fisher bagged a goal just 0:21 later to tie the game, 4-4.

Looking like the game was destined for overtime, Fisher threw a wrench in those plans. By just throwing a routine shot on goal with 0:16 left, the Predators got the unlikely game-winner. Harding misjudged Fisher’s shot from the half-wall and the puck found its way into the back of the net for Nashville’s fifth of the night.

The Preds will try to regroup with a better 60 minute effort against the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night.

Puck drops at 6:00pm Central.

PHOTO CREDIT: Anna // special to (used with permission)

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