ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – Charlie Coyle scored twice in the first period to set the tone as Minnesota matched its season high for goals, and Nino Niederreiter had two of the Wild’s three goals on the power play on their way to a 6-2 rout of the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday.
Zach Parise also scored with the man advantage and Mikael Granlund added a goal to build 5-1 lead by the second intermission. Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury’s career record against the Wild fell to 2-7, with 30 goals allowed in those nine all-time matchups.
Phil Kessel and Bryan Rust had goals for the Penguins. They were coming off a 6-1 win over the New York Rangers two days before. They smacked into a Minnesota team that was long overdue for an offensive outburst, with only 17 goals in its previous 10 games.
This was the most goals in 17 games since Oct. 18 by the Wild, who swept the season series from the Penguins. They’re one of only five teams to win in regulation against Pittsburgh. The Wild improved to 7-3 at home, outscoring opponents 30-17, and won their second straight game for the first time since Oct. 29.
Penguins star Sidney Crosby arrived at the arena with an NHL-high 14 goals in only 14 games, plus 16 points in his first 12 matchups with Minnesota, but Devan Dubnyk and the Wild defense kept him quiet. Dubnyk made 34 saves and has given up just 15 goals in his last 12 games. The Wild have allowed a league-low 38 goals.
The Wild put the exclamation point on their first period, though, when Kris Letang, perhaps believing a teammate was there, blindly sent a soft pass into the right circle for Coyle to intercept and turn into his team-leading seventh goal of the season.
Late in the second period after Ian Cole went to the penalty box for roughing, Parise scored for the second straight game by keeping the puck away from Letang as the defenseman slid across the slot and snapping a shot into the upper right corner as he fell forward. Granlund’s goal was another highlight-grabber, with a last-second pullback of the puck from Cole before he sent it into the net.
The awakening of Parise, who has missed seven games because of injury and illness, has been a welcomed spark this week for the Wild. Eight of their first 10 games this month were decided by one goal, with the other two stretched only by an empty-netter. They stretched their streak to a season-long four straight games with a power-play goal, and this was their first game all season with multiple scores on the man advantage.
The afternoon was another momentous experience for Jake Guentzel, whose NHL career is only three games old. Guentzel, who scored twice in his debut on Monday, grew up in Woodbury a mere 10 miles east of Xcel Energy Center and played at Hill-Murray High School. His father, Mike Guentzel, is an assistant coach at the University of Minnesota, where Kessel played under him in the 2005-06 season.
NOTES: The Penguins were again without forwards Patric Hornqvist (concussion, fifth straight game) and Chris Kunitz (lower body, third straight game). … Brodin had only seven points in 68 games last season. He has eight points in just 20 games this season. … Wild defenseman Christian Folin left in the first period with a lower-body injury. … The Wild have played the day after Thanksgiving in every season of the franchise’s existence that wasn’t affected by a lockout, with only one game on the road. They’re 9-5-1 overall, but they won at home for the first time since 2011. … Malkin has 12 points in 10 career games against the Wild.
Pittsburgh: Returns home to face New Jersey on Friday night.
Minnesota: Hits the road for five straight games, starting with St. Louis on Saturday night.
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