NHL: Wild go wild in third
ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota Wild continued their red hot play, scoring a six-pack of third period goals and rallying to beat the Dallas Stars 6-2 on Sunday.
ST. PAUL - The Minnesota Wild continued their red hot play, scoring a six-pack of third period goals and rallying to beat the Dallas Stars 6-2 on Sunday.
Trailing 1-0 with 19 minutes to play, Minnesota got a pair of goals from left winger Zach Parise and single goals from center Mikko Koivu, left winger Stephane Veilleux, defenseman Matt Dumba and center Mikael Granlund, improving to a NHL-best 13-2-2 in their past 17 games. For the first time since late November, Minnesota moved into the top eight in the Western Conference with the win.
Center Jason Spezza scored twice -- a second period power play goal and an even-strength goal in the final minutes -- for Dallas, which is now winless (0-2-1) in its past three games. Goalie Jhonas Enroth, making his third start for the Stars since coming over in a trade from Buffalo, had 29 saves in the loss.
Minnesota goalie Devan Dubnyk continued his run of success with 18 saves. He is now 13-2-1 for the Wild since joining the team on Jan. 15 after starting the season with the Arizona Coyotes. The Wild beat Enroth, then with the Sabres, 7-0 in Dubnyk’s first start for Minnesota last month.
The game remained scoreless until late in the second period, when a cruel turn of events found the Wild down 1-0. Minnesota killed off Dallas’ first two power plays of the period, making them 32-for-32 on the penalty kill since before the All-Star break. But with the puck in the Wild’s defensive zone, Minnesota defenseman Jonas Brodin was hit in the head by a Stars shot and appeared dazed. Koivu tried to clear the puck to give Brodin a chance to get off the ice and instead sent it over the glass, drawing a delay of game penalty.
On the ensuing power play, the Stars snapped Minnesota’s penalty kill streak and got on the board when Spezza took a pass from defenseman John Klingberg and blasted a slap shot from the right circle that sailed over Dubnyk’s left shoulder and into the upper corner of the net. It was the seventh time in Dallas’ last eight games that Spezza has recorded at least a point.
Parise tied the game 100 seconds into the third period, slamming home a cross-ice pass from rookie defenseman Christian Folin. Less than two minutes later, Koivu gave his team the lead, grabbing a loose puck and throwing a wide angle shot toward the net. Enroth lifted his stick just enough in an attempt to deflect the puck away, but it went between his skates and in the net instead.
Veilleux, who spent much of the year playing for the Wild’s minor league team in Iowa, shoveled a puck past Enroth during a scramble in front of the net for his first goal of the season. Goals by Dumba and Granlund, and a second from Parise, followed.
Spezza slipped a shot between Dubnyk’s pads with 1:43 left to play for his first multi-goal game of the season.
NOTES: Stars RW Ales Hemsky returned to regular action and had a pair of assists in Saturday’s 7-6 shootout loss to the Detroit Red Wings after missing the previous three games with a lower-body injury. Dallas is taking a more cautious approach with LW Patrick Eaves, who has been out of the lineup since Feb. 13 due to a concussion. Eaves, who previously dealt with multiple concussion problems, did not come along on Dallas’ road trip. ... As part of Hockey Weekend Across America, the Wild honored seven players and the coach of USA Hockey’s Women’s National U-18 team prior to the game. Team USA defeated Canada for the gold medal in the IIHF U-18 World Championship on Jan. 12 in Buffalo, N.Y. Six of the seven players recognized by the Wild and coach Joel Johnson are from Minnesota, while one player hails from just across the border in Hudson, Wis. ... The Stars’ brief two-game road trip concludes Tuesday when they visit the Winnipeg Jets. The Wild are in the midst of a brief two-game homestand and will host the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday.