Wild end 5-game slide with 4-1 victory over the Rangers
NEW YORK (AP) — Zach Parise and his newest teammate got the Minnesota Wild a much-needed win.
Parise had a goal and an assist, and the Wild ended a five-game skid with a 4-1 win over the New York Rangers on Thursday night.
Ryan Donato, who was acquired in a trade with Boston on Wednesday, had two assists in his Wild debut.
“I thought Ryan looked really good tonight,” Parise said. “He looked really comfortable with the puck. Made some great plays.”
Mikael Granlund and Jared Spurgeon also scored and Jordan Greenway added an empty-netter. Eric Staal had two assists and Devan Dubnyk made 33 saves for the Wild, who earned their first victory since Feb. 9 at New Jersey.
Despite their recent struggles, the Wild are still in the race for one of the final playoff spots in the Western Conference.
“The (standings) points were more important for our team,” Donato said. “Big W. Hopefully we can build off this.”
Pavel Buchnevich scored for the Rangers, and Henrik Lundqvist made 31 saves.
With Minnesota leading 2-1, Rangers defenseman Brady Skjei was tripped and Parise took the loose puck and beat Lundqvist for his team-leading 24th goal of the season at 11:03 of the third.
“From the replay, it looked he might have tripped me,” Skjei said. “It’s a fast game, you’re not going to get all the calls you want, and obviously it was a huge turning point in the game. It’s a quick game, some calls are missed sometimes.”
The Rangers then had a four-minute power play to try and get back in it but were unable to take advantage.
“We haven’t been to close out games when we’ve had the lead lately,” Parise said. “To be able to get the lead and kill of a four-minute penalty, it was a good job by us.”
New York had other good chances to tie it earlier in the period, but Mika Zibanejad hit the post and Ryan Strome missed an open net on a rebound a few minutes later.
The Wild retook a 2-1 lead in the second period. Greg Pateryn wristed a shot toward the net, and Granlund, while falling to the ice, sent the rebound past Lundqvist at 8:41 for his 15th of the season.
“That the kind of play that Granny’s (Granlund) been known to score at,” Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said. “Hopefully if he can continue to do that then we’re going to score goals. When he’s playing like that, then you find you’re going to score.”
Down 1-0 after the first period, the Rangers tied it early in the second on the power play.
Buchnevich took a pass from Tony DeAngelo at the right faceoff circle and ripped a shot that sneaked past Dubnyk for his 12th of the season at 5:06.
The Wild opened the scoring with a power-play goal.
Donato made a nice cross-ice pass to Spurgeon, who quickly sent a pass to Staal. Staal was stopped on a sprawling save by Lundqvist, but Spurgeon tapped in the rebound for his 12th goal at 15:04 of the opening period. Donato earned an assist on that goal and on Greenway’s score.
Spurgeon’s goal ended the Wild’s goal drought at more than 171 minutes. They were coming off consecutive shutouts and hadn’t scored since the second period of a 5-4 overtime loss to the Devils on Feb. 15.
The Wild nearly made it 2-0 less than a minute later, but the goal was waived off after a review because Joel Eriksson Ek was offside on the play.
MAPLE LEAFS 2
TORONTO (AP) — Alex Ovechkin scored the 650th goal of his career and Braden Holtby made 40 saves as the Washington Capitals defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2 on Thursday night.
Tom Wilson had a goal and an assist, and Brett Connolly also scored for Washington, which won consecutive games for the first time in two weeks. Lars Eller added two assists.
Andreas Johnsson and John Tavares scored for Toronto. Frederik Andersen made 25 stops.
The Leafs, who were playing at home for the first time since Feb. 6 following a season-long six-game trip that ended with a 3-2-1 record, entered 7-2-2 over their last 11, but had also dropped two straight.
The Capitals, meanwhile, were 6-3-1 over their previous 10 after a 0-5-2 stretch that culminated with a 6-3 loss at Scotiabank Arena on Jan. 23.
LIGHTNING 2, SABRES 1
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Nikita Kucherov became the fastest player to 100 points in a season since Mario Lemieux, and he and Steven Stamkos scored in the shootout to lift Tampa Bay.
Kucherov became the league’s first 100-point player this season with his 30th goal. He got there in 62 games, one more than it took Lemieux in 1996-97.
Andrei Vasilevskiy had 29 saves and stopped both shootout attempts he faced. The Lightning have won eight straight and earned points in 12 in a row (10-0-2).
Rasmus Dahlin scored for Buffalo, and Carter Hutton stopped 39 shots.
Kucherov is the first player in Lightning franchise history to record multiple 100-point seasons and is the seventh player in the past 20 years with back-to-back such campaigns.
SHARKS 4, PENGUINS 0
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Tomas Hertl scored a pair of first-period power-play goals, Martin Jones stopped 26 shots and San Jose took advantage of sloppy play by Pittsburgh Penguins.
Brent Burns picked up his 12th of the season, and Evander Kane added a short-handed goal for the Sharks, who beat Casey DeSmith three times in the opening 14 minutes and kept the Penguins in check the rest of the way to sweep the season series from the team that edged them in six games in the 2016 Stanley Cup Final.
The Sharks have won eight of 10 overall and pulled within one point of Calgary for the top spot in the Pacific Division.
DeSmith finished with 29 saves, but Pittsburgh stumbled out of the gate and never recovered to lose for just the second time in six games.
SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — Justin Williams had two goals and an assist and Carolina rallied for two goals down to beat Florida.
Nino Niederreiter had a goal and an assist, and Justin Faulk also scored a goal Florida, which has won seven of its last nine games. Peter Mrazek made 27 saves.
Aleksander Barkov, Evgenii Dadonov and Jonathan Huberdeau each had a goal and an assist for the Panthers, whose three-game winning streak was snapped. James Reimer stopped 21 shots in his fourth consecutive start.
DEVILS 4, SENATORS 0
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Cory Schneider made 30 saves in posting his first shutout since November 2017 and New Jersey beat undermanned Ottawa in a game in which both teams gave indications they were getting ready to make trades in the next few days.
Travis Zajac, Steven Santini, Kurtis Gabriel and Miles Wood scored for the Devils, who won for the third time in four games.
Anders Nilsson had 27 saves for the Senators, whose 22-33-5 record is the worst in the NHL this season.
Mark Stone, Matt Duchene and Ryan Dzingel, the Senators’ first, second- and fourth-leading scorers, were all healthy scratches.