Wild score five power-play goals on the way to beating Panthers
“Kirill is a great player,” Minnesota coach John Hynes said. “He has a high, high talent level, high hockey IQ, he is a high-end offensive player who has got tremendous competitiveness and coming back from injury, you can see his timing is coming back now and it's nice to see him get rewarded.”
Joel Eriksson Ek and Mats Zuccarello also had power-play goals for the Wild. Brock Faber had three assists and Matt Boldy had two. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 10 of 11 shots he faced before leaving due to an injury with 9:28 left in the second period. Filip Gustavsson came on and finished with 21 saves to get the win.
Hynes did not provide an update on Fleury's status postgame.
“It was tough because we were up 4-1 and it feels like it could only go downwards from that,” Gustavsson said. “Three goals is almost the worst lead because you feel really good but there are very few margins to make it a tight game.”
Aaron Ekblad, Eetu Luostarinen, Anton Lundell and Gustav Forsling scored for Florida, which lost its fourth straight for the first time this season. The Panthers were again without captain Aleksander Barkov, who missed his second consecutive game with a lower-body injury.
The five power-play goals allowed tied a Panthers record, done three times previously -- the last in 2006. It also matched the most by any team in the NHL this season; Dallas scored five on the way to beating Minnesota 8-3 on Nov. 12.
“The things that we're really good at, we weren't,” Florida coach Paul Maurice said of the penalty kill. “It starts with faceoffs and mostly clears, after that, we're just behind it. The first goal was a nice play, but after that, they're just pucks on net. We have got to clear the net front and we've got to get some blocks. It's won us a whole lot of games this year but it wasn't very good tonight.”
Florida's Sam Reinhart was held off the scoresheet, snapping two streaks. His Florida-record streak of eight consecutive games with a goal ended, as did his streak of eight straight games with a goal on special teams.
The Wild came into the night with five power-play goals previously this month, going 5 for 28 with the man advantage over nine games. They finished 5 for 6 against the Panthers.
Wild: At Carolina on Sunday.
Panthers: At Nashville on Monday night.
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