The Minnesota Wild blew past the Dallas Stars with six goals in the third period for a 6-2 victory Sunday at the Xcel Energy Center.
Zach Parise got the ball rolling with a backdoor tap-in goal off a pass across the top of the crease from Christian Folin 41 minutes and 40 seconds into the game. Justin Fontaine recorded the other assist with a drop pass to Folin along the boards.
“It was a really nice play,” Parise said. “It was a smart play by (Folin) to come off the blue line and come down the wall. That was a really, really, really nice pass, a backhand across the crease. There was not a lot of room and that was right on the money.”
Parise finished the Wild’s scoring with two minutes and eight seconds remaining in the game. In that 17 minute and 12 second span, the Wild peppered Stars backup goaltender Jhonas Enroth for 14 shots and six goals (several he would like to have back and several his teammates would like to have back). The Stars did not want to use the second game of a back-to-back situation and travel from Dallas to Minnesota as an excuse, but they appeared to run out of gas in the third period.
“A back-to-back is no excuse,” Stars captain Jamie Benn said. “We got a 1-0 lead after two periods and come in the third and lay an egg to give six goals. It’s embarrassing. We left our goalie hanging tonight when he played really a good game.”
The Wild (31-21-7) extended their hot streak to 13 wins in 17 games since acquiring Devan Dubnyk on Jan. 14. The 28 points (13 wins, an overtime loss and a shootout loss) have vaulted them into the top eight as the second wild card team in the playoff standings.
“It’s nice to get in there,” Parise said. “It’s nice to make a little movement in the standings for us. It felt like for the longest time we were winning and weren’t going anywhere. It’s a long ways to good, but you have to get in sometime and somehow. It’s nice to be back in.”
Mikko Koivu put the Wild ahead for good in similar to a goal he set up in Edmonton on Friday. He fired a shot toward the far pad of Enroth in hopes of creating a rebound, but this time found a hole just one minute and 43 seconds after Parise’s first goal of the game.
“I knew there (were two teammates) coming to the net,” Koivu said. “It was more hoping for a pass more than anything.”
Stephane Veilleux created a little breathing room by chipping a loose puck into the net while Enroth was trying to find the rebound. It was Veilleux’s first goal in the NHL since April 5, 2014. He parked himself in front of the net and when Enroth jumped toward the backdoor when Marco Scandella’s shot was knocked down in front of the crease. Veilleux saw the loose puck and jumped on it.
The Wild took advantage of a power play opportunity with six minutes and 35 seconds remaining in the game to extend the lead to three goals. Matt Dumba received a pass from Mikael Granlund and fired a wrist shot past Enroth.
The onslaught continued one minute and eight seconds later when Granlund took a stretch pass up the middle of the ice from Nate Prosser for a breakaway. Granlund lifted a shot over Enroth after making a deke to his forward side. Folin recorded his second assist of the game with a pass to Prosser giving him his first career multi-point game.
The Stars (27-24-9) scored the game’s first and last goals. Both came from Jason Spezza. His first came with a rocket shot from inside the face off circle to Dubnyk’s left. The second came off a rush that caught Dubynk backing into his net and could not shut his legs quick enough.
Kyle Brodziak and Jonas Brodin also recorded assists for the game giving the Wild 11 different players to record at least one point.
No. 3 – Mikael Granlund. The Wild forward recorded a goal and two assists.
No. 2 – Christian Folin. The Wild defenseman had two assists.
No. 1 – Zach Parise. The Wild forward scored two goals.
Dallas….…..…0 1 1 – 2
Minnesota……0 0 6 – 6
First Period – None. Penalties – Ja. Benn, DAL (slashing), 5:31.
Second Period – 1, Dallas, Spezza 13 (Klingberg, Ritchie), 14:33 (pp). Penalties – Veilleux, MIN (high sticking), 2:12; Koivu, MIN (tripping), 11:19; Koivu, MIN (delay of game-puck over glass), 13:45.
Third Period – 2, Minnesota, Parise 24 (Folin, Fontaine), 1:40. 3, Minnesota, Koivu 10 (unassisted), 3:23. 4, Minnesota, Veilleux 1 (Scandella, Brodziak), 8:41. 5, Dumba 4 (Granlund, Brodin), 13:25 (pp). 6, Minnesota, Granlund 6 (Prosser, Folin), 14:33. 7, Minnesota, Parise 25 (Granlund), 17:52. 8, Dallas, Spezza 14 (Hemsky), 18:17. Penalties – Roussel, DAL (interference), 11:47.
Shots on goal – Dallas 7-8-5 20. Minnesota 11-9-15 35.
Goalies – Dallas, Enroth (29-35). Minnesota, Dubnyk (18-20). Referees – Brian Pochmara, Dan O’Rourke. Linesmen – Michel Cormier, Mark Wheler.