ashton-remax_NEWThe Nashville Predators clinched home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs Tuesday night with a 2-1 shootout win over the Minnesota Wild.

The victory snaps a three-game losing streak of the Preds, unprecedented territory for them this season. It was also just the second win in five games against the Wild this year.

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“I think it was our best game in a while,” defenseman Roman Josi said. “They didn’t have too many chances and obviously Pekks was there, I thought it was a complete effort from us. It’s good to be back in the win column.

“I think the last couple of games we gave other teams too much time in front of our net. It’s so hard for a goaltender to save two or three shots then the rebounds, so we made sure we defended our net better and we did a better job.”

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Goaltender Pekka Rinne, who saved 22 of 23 shots faced, and head coach Peter Laviolette echoed Josi’s sentiments.

“All in all, I thought for 65 minutes we played the best hockey, to me at least, in the last four or five games,” Rinne said.

“We’ve played some good hockey this year, but some of the games that we were winning before we lost three in a row, I don’t think it was great,” Laviolette added. “So, I think it was a good step of getting back in the right direction of playing the way we need to play as we approach the playoffs.”

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In addition to having home-ice for at least Round 1, the Preds also reached a team goal for divisional wins, something they resonated as being essential in the march toward the playoffs.

“It’s a division game and division games are important,” Laviolette said. “I think that’s our last one. So, we made it a point to talk about making sure we win our division inside of the teams we have to play. We marked a schedule, I think it was 11 or 12 games out from that point I think we went 9-2-1 inside our division.

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“In order to try and secure that home ice for the playoffs for a round or hopefully two round we knew we had to secure the division games.”

“Any time you play your own division, a lot of times it really is a four-point game,” Rinne added. “There are always big swings when you play your own division. We’ve been doing a really good job and I think our coaching staff does a great job also of preparing us and making sure we understand that it’s a division game or even a Western Conference game.”

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