Wild 7 Senators 2
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Defenceman Jared Spurgeon had a goal and two assists, Zack Parise stayed hot and Minnesota scored three goals in a 4:13 span of the second period to cruise to a 7-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Friday.
The Wild had their highest-scoring game of the season, beating the Senators for the eighth straight time since November 2016. It was the first time Minnesota scored seven goals since a Dec. 11, 2018, victory over Montreal.
I’m hoping it continues,” Minnesota coach Bruce Boudreau said. “It’s the first game that hasn’t been a one-goal game it seems like in a long time. I hope it was a little bit of a confidence-booster. I think playing on home ice and having success on home ice is really important.”
All four forward lines had a goal and Alex Stalock made 33 saves to improve to 6-3-2 as starter Devan Dubnyk takes more family leave to deal with his wife’s undiagnosed illness.
After Minnesota took a 3-2 lead into the third period, Luke Kunin, Ryan Hartman and Eric Staal added insurance goals.
The Wild extended their points streak to eight games (5-0-3). Only the Boston Bruins (10 games) have a longer active streak.
“We put ourselves in a tough position to start the year,” Hartman said. “We talked about this date, or even Christmas, to get ourselves back in the hunt, and we’ve done a great job lately of gaining points and jumping up in the standings. We aren’t looking at the standings too much. We are just doing what we need to do. Just getting points. If we do that, we’re going to be just fine.”
It was the fourth time this season Ottawa allowed five or more goals in a game after yielding just five in its previous four games.
“This isn’t indicative of the way we play,” Ottawa coach D.J. Smith said. “I thought we glided too much tonight. We’re a team that works and skates and I didn’t think we did that tonight. We probably got what we deserve.”
The Wild dominated the scoring chances in the first period but were denied by the goal post and Senators goalie Anders Nilsson. Meanwhile, Ottawa opened the scoring when Nick Paul re-directed Nikita Zaitsev’s point shot at 15:37. It was Paul’s first goal in 15 games.
Minnesota came to life in the second period with 17 shots and a trio of goals 4:13 apart to take a 3-2 lead into the third. Ryan Donato got it rolling with his second goal in three games, grabbing a loose puck in the corner, cutting to the net and roofing a backhander over Nilsson.
The Senators regained the lead only 54 seconds later off an offensive-zone faceoff. Brady Tkachuk, despite being knocked to the ice by Parise, managed to one-time Connor Brown’s centring pass past Stalock for his ninth of the season.
The Wild quickly answered off the rush. Staal fed Zuccarello in the left circle. His shot toward the net was tipped by Spurgeon, who celebrated his 30th birthday with his third goal of the season.
Just 28 seconds later, Parise gave Minnesota its first lead. His goal-line shot ricocheted off Nilsson’s skates and through the goaltender’s legs. Parise continued his torrid pace. His team-leading 11th goal of the season was his seventh in eight games.
NOTES: Staal became the 113th player to skate in 1,200 NHL games. … Artem Anisimov and Vladislav Namestnikov returned to the Ottawa lineup. …The Senators finished 0 for 1 on the power play and remain mired in last place in the NHL with a 9.3% conversion rate.
Senators: At Calgary on Saturday night.
Wild: Host Dallas on Sunday.