Wild win ninth straight matching franchise best
MONTREAL—Eric Staal scored a short-handed goal early in the third to lift the Minnesota Wild to a 4-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night at the Bell Centre.
It's the Wild's ninth straight win, matching a franchise mark set back in March 2009.
Carey Price stopped 23 shots for Montreal (21-8-4) while Devan Dubnyk made 32 saves for the Wild (20-8-4).
Jordan Schroeder, Jared Spurgeon and Jason Zucker (empty net) also connected for Minnesota.
Max Pacioretty and Artturi Lehkonen scored for the Canadiens.
Pacioretty opened the scoring at 2:01 of the second period. After Spurgeon fell down, the Canadiens captain used his speed to catch up to the loose puck and skated up the right side before firing a wrister from the top of the circle.
It was the first short-handed goal the Wild has given up this season and marked the first time since Dec. 9 that Minnesota faced a deficit, a span of six games.
Schroeder, a native Minnesotan who was just called up from the AHL's Iowa Wild, tied it just over six minutes later when he intercepted Price's clearing attempt along the boards and skated around the back of the net before tucking the puck in short side.
Lehkonen's seventh of the season restored Montreal's lead at 10:35. Dubnyk made the save on a Brian Flynn chance from the high slot but left a rebound to his left, and Lehkonen was there to lift a backhander over the Wild goaltender.
Spurgeon finished off some quick puck movement by Minnesota to even the score, 2-2. Several teammates had touches before Jason Zucker found Spurgeon in the right circle for his second of the season at 15:43.
Staal gave the Wild its first lead of the night with a short-handed tally at 3:08 of the third period. The veteran pivot beat out Nathan Beaulieu to a Granlund clearing attempt and wired a wrist shot from the left circle. The goal, his 11th of the season, tied him with Charlie Coyle for the team lead.
Zucker capped the scoring at 19:37.
NOTES: Montreal D Alexei Emelin missed the game to be with his wife, who gave birth to the couple's third child earlier in the day. ... The Canadiens called up D Joel Hanley on emergency recall from the AHL's St. John's IceCaps to replace him in the lineup. ... Montreal also assigned RW Sven Andrighetto to the AHL. ... Minnesota LW Zach Parise missed the game due to an illness while C Erik Haula missed a second game with a lower-body injury. ... Wild D Nate Prosser was a healthy scratch. ... C Jordan Schroeder, called up to replace Parise, suited up for the big club for the first time since Nov. 5. ... Wild D Jared Spurgeon appeared in his 400th NHL game.