Ellis, Forsberg Help Predators Rally Past Wild 5-2

NASHVILLE — Ryan Ellis and Filip Forsberg each had a goal and an assist and the Nashville Predators rallied with four goals in the final period and beat the Minnesota Wild 5-2 on Thursday night in the season opener for both teams.

Mikael Granlund, Austin Watson and Viktor Arvidsson also scored goals for the defending Central Division champion Predators.

Matt Duchene, who signed a seven-year, $56 million deal with Nashville as a free agent, picked three assists.

Jason Zucker and Matt Dumba scored for Minnesota.

Nashville trailed 2-1 entering the final period before Granlund and Watson scored at 27 seconds and 1:56, respectively, to put the Predators ahead for good. Granlund tipped home a slap shot by Roman Josi and Watson tipped in a shot by Ellis.

Nashville Predators Mikael Granlund
Nashville Predators center Mikael Granlund (Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)

Ellis scored the game’s first goal at 3:37 of the second period.

As Ellis skated down from the right point, Filip Forsberg sent a pass his way. The puck deflected off of Ellis’ skate and trickled by Minnesota goaltender Devan Dubnyk.

Dubnyk finished with 27 saves.

Earlier in the second, Dubnyk robbed former Wild teammate Granlund with an impressive glove save. Moving right to left, Dubnyk made a sweeping glove stop on Granlund’s one-timer from the right faceoff dot.

Nashville had an apparent power-play goal waived off after a video review determined Granlund made contact with the puck with a high stick.

Minnesota took the lead with two goals in a 43-second span in the second.

Zucker struck first at 16:04 on the power play.

Former Predator Brad Hunt’s slap shot from the right point was deflected by Nashville’s Nick Bonino and then glanced off of Zucker’s jersey and past Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne high to the stick side.

Dumba pounced on a rebound and blasted it by Rinne at 16:47.

Rinne finished with 22 saves.

Nashville Predators Pekka Rinne
Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Shortly after Watson put Nashville up 3-2 early in the third, Rinne made a pair of stellar saves on Zucker 30 seconds apart. The Finn denied Zucker on a breakaway at 4:45 and then gloved a backhand from in close 30 seconds later.

Arvidsson scored his first of the season at 7:32 of the third. The Swede set a Nashville franchise record with 34 goals last season.

Forsberg added an empty-net goal late in the third to account for the final margin.


Country music superstar Keith Urban performed for the crowd during the first intermission. Urban’s wife, actress Nicole Kidman, also attended the game. … Nashville C Craig Smith recorded an assist in the game, his 300th career NHL point. … Dumba missed Minnesota’s last 50 games last season due to a torn pectoralis muscle.

Up Next

Wild: Visit the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday.

Predators: Host the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday.


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Jim Diamond, The Associated Press