NHL: Wild clip Panthers
ST. PAUL -- Right winger Jason Pominville and left winger Zach Parise scored goals, and the Minnesota Wild beat the Florida Panthers 2-1 Thursday night.
ST. PAUL - Right winger Jason Pominville and left winger Zach Parise scored goals, and the Minnesota Wild beat the Florida Panthers 2-1 Thursday night.
Goalie Devan Dubnyk stopped 26 shots for Minnesota, and center Mikko Koivu recorded two assists.
The Wild (27-20-7) won for the seventh time in eight games. They are 9-1-2 in their past 12, all since Dubnyk was acquired from the Arizona Coyotes on Jan. 14.
Center Nick Bjugstad scored for the Panthers, who lost in regulation for the first time in five games.
Florida netminder Roberto Luongo stopped 21 shots but fell to 3-10-3 in 16 career starts at Xcel Energy Center.
Minnesota continued its recent penalty-kill success. The Wild killed off all five short-handed situations, they are perfect in 22 such chances over eight games since the All-Star break.
With Luongo pulled, Wild right winger Nino Niederreiter was called for tripping with 1:19 to play, but the Panthers could not get a shot on goal with a six-on-four advantage.
Pominville, who scored in a third consecutive game after going 12 games without a goal, gave Minnesota a 1-0 lead at 4:12 of the opening period.
Defenseman Ryan Suter passed to Koivu in stride at center ice. Koivu carried down the left wall to below the left circle and centered a pass through the crease to Pominville, who had the puck deflect off his right skate.
Parise made it 2-0 with a power-play goal nearly at 6:52 of the second period.
Below the goal line, Koivu passed to left winger Thomas Vanek low in the right circle for a quick shot. Luongo made the initial save, but Parise outmuscled the Panthers goaltender for the rebound before poking the loose puck across the line on his second try.
Koivu has 113 multipoint games, one shy of the franchise record set by Marian Gaborik.
Bjugstad cut the deficit in half three minutes later, sneaking a rising shot from below the right circle between Dubnyk’s head, the crossbar and the right post for his team-leading 19th goal.
Right winger Jimmy Hayes carried the puck into the Wild zone and passed to left winger Jussi Jokinen charging down the slot, before Jokinen passed to Bjugstad alone in the right circle.
NOTES: Florida C Nick Bjugstad grew up in suburban Blaine, Minn., and was selected Minnesota’s Mr. Hockey in 2010 as the most outstanding senior high school hockey player in the state. He also played three years at the University of Minnesota, scoring 54 goals in 109 games. He told the team’s website that his mother got 160 tickets for Thursday’s game. ... Minnesota reassigned D Christian Folin to AHL Iowa. He was scratched in each of the previous six games. ... Florida coach Gerard Gallant said C Brandon Pirri is expected to miss two weeks after injuring his shoulder Tuesday. Pirri sat out 10 games against sustaining a concussion against Arizona on Oct. 30. ... Wild LW Stephane Veilleux played his 500th career game. ... Both teams entered the game with a 15.7 percent success rate on the power play, tied for fourth worst in the league. ... Florida plays the Stars in Dallas on Friday. Minnesota plays host to the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday.