Parise, Staal lead Wild over Panthers

Published 11:22 am Saturday, March 11, 2017

Zach Parise and the Minnesota Wild got back to their winning ways.

Parise scored the go-ahead goal with 5:07 left and the Wild pulled away to beat the reeling Florida Panthers 7-4 on Friday night to snap a two-game losing streak.

With the score tied 4, goalie James Reimer blocked a shot from the point by Jonas Brodin, but the puck bounced out to his left side where he didn’t see it and it sat in the crease. Parise swept the loose puck in.

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The Western Conference-leading Wild won after losing their previous two games.

“I think we’ve set the standard pretty high when panic sets in when we lose two games in a row,” Parise said. “That mean we’re doing some good things this year. We got to the net really well and were able to put some in.”

Mikael Granlund scored an empty-net goal with 1:10 left, his team-leading 22nd of the season, and Charlie Coyle added another empty-netter with 2.5 seconds left.

Eric Staal scored twice for Minnesota, and Jason Pominville and Jason Zucker also connected. Darcy Kuemper made 25 saves before he was replaced by Devan Dubnyk to start the third period. Dubnyk stopped 11 shots, and matched his career high with 36 wins.

Kuemper was also given an early hook in his last start on Feb. 28in a 6-5 win at Winnipeg in favor of Dubnyk.

“I just thought that this was such an important game,” Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said. “We did it last time and it worked. I wanted to get this win as bad as any of them. I thought it was important for our team to get this win because the next two games we’re in Chicago, Washington and (later) the Rangers. If it’s the World Series and you have your best pitcher in the bullpen, you use him.”

Jaromir Jagr scored his 762nd NHL goal. Mark Pysyk had a goal and an assist, and Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Marchessault also scored. Reimer stopped 38 shots.

The Panthers have lost seven of their past eight.

“Obviously, it could have gone both ways, but we always manage to find a way to not win hockey games,” Marchessault said. “It’s a bad game defensively. Everybody needs to help each other and try to pick each other up. We need to turn that boat around.”

The Panthers were riding high after a five-game win streak on the road. Now, it seems their season is coming apart as they have won just one home game in their past eight.

“We just have to worry about Tampa Bay tomorrow, go in there and have a real good game and forget about this one as quick as we can,” Panthers interim coach Tom Rowe said.

Barkov gave the Panthers a 4-3 lead at 2:57 of the third. Dubnyk mishandled the puck behind the net. Barkov found the loose puck and put it into an empty net.

The Wild tied it 4 on Staal’s second goal. He grabbed a rebound and put the puck past Reimer at 5:24.

“Tonight we fought hard to make sure that we were on the right side of the win and against a desperate team,” Staal said. “We should feel good about that.”

The Wild tied it 2 in the second period when Nino Niederreiter passed from behind the goal line to Staal in front, who poked in the puck at 8:07.

The Wild took a 3-2 lead two minutes later. Pominville shot the puck over Reimer, who was down flat on his back in the crease during a scrum in front.

Jagr tied it at 3 when he came from behind the net and put a shot on goal from the right side that went off Kuemper and in at 11:09 of the second.

Pysyk broke a 1-1 tie when his wrist shot from the high slot got past Kuemper on the glove side with 1:49 left in the first to give the Panthers a 2-1 lead.

Zucker gave the Wild a 1-0 lead 7:50 in.

The Panthers tied it at 1 on Marchessault’s power-play goal at 14:22.

NOTES: Panthers G Roberto Luongo, who has missed three games, might be out another 1-2 weeks with a lower-body injury. … Marchessault has 20 goals for the first time in his NHL career. … Wild C Martin Hanzal recorded his 200th career assist on the Pominville goal. … Staal reached the 20-goal mark for the 10th time in his career. … D Christian Folin missed his second straight game with an upper-body injury. … D Matt Dumba missed his second game due to illness.

Up next

Wild: Visits Chicago Blackhawks Sunday.