ST. PAUL, Minnesota (Reuters) – The Minnesota Wild trampled Nashville 8-4 Friday to eliminate the Predators from play-off contention, but it was not enough to keep their own hopes alive.
The Anaheim Ducks’ 4-3 shootout victory over the Dallas Stars knocked out Minnesota despite the Wild exploding for season-high eight goals.
“The difference to me was the whole year we were looking for scoring and we lost some key men that really hurt us,” Wild coach Jacques Lemaire told reporters.
“I wish we had more games like this. It was one of the best games we played all year. I think the guys will remember this.”
Marc-Andre Bergeron scored twice for the Wild, who pulled within one point of Anaheim before the Ducks completed their clinching win.
Minnesota blitzed Nashville goal-tender Pekka Rinne, who allowed six goals before Minnesota added two empty-netters in the final two minutes.
Jason Arnott scored two goals for the Predators to set a team single-season record with 33 goals.
Shea Weber and Steve Sullivan scored goals in the third period to pull the Predators within 6-4 before Cal Clutterbuck and Marek Zidlicky added the finishing touches for Minnesota.
“This group can walk out of here proud,” said Nashville coach Barry Trotz. “They never gave up. Obviously we didn’t get the result we wanted tonight.”
Dan Fritsche, Andrew Brunette, Kim Johnsson and Mikko Koivu also added scores for the Wild, who took a commanding 4-1 advantage in the second.
“I think we’ve been scoring pretty much all year but it was great to see guys get goals because they’ve been working hard every day,” said goalie Niklas Backstrom, who finished with 31 saves.
(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by Alastair Himmer; To query or comment on this story email firstname.lastname@example.org)