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game recap

Wild wrap up second place in Central

Bryan Bickell returns for Hurricanes in loss

by Jessi Pierce / NHL.com Correspondent

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Minnesota Wild clinched second place in the Central Division with a 5-3 win against the Carolina Hurricanes at Xcel Energy Center on Tuesday.

Devan Dubnyk made 27 saves for the Wild (47-25-8), who have won two in a row and will open their Western Conference First Round series at home against either the St. Louis Blues or Nashville Predators.

"I've had home ice every year I've ever been in the League and I haven't won a Cup yet, so I don't know how important it is," Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said. "I certainly am glad we have it. We have tremendous fans and hopefully they can make the difference."

 

WATCH: All Hurricanes vs. Wild highlights

 

Hurricanes forward Bryan Bickell had three hits playing 11:49 in his first NHL game since Oct. 30. Bickell was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis on Nov. 11 and returned to hockey with Charlotte of the American Hockey League on Feb. 25.

"It was a little bit of a rough start, but emotionally it was good to get back out there," Bickell said. "Obviously that first period wasn't what we wanted as a line, but I think as the game went on it got better.

"You just think about all the thoughts and all the things you've gone through to get to this moment and the people that reach out and help and the support; it means a lot for all those people to get me to where I am now, and I'm happy to be back here and just take it game by game and move on to the next one."

Video: CAR@MIN: Schroeder lights the lamp with rebound tally

Cam Ward made 31 saves for Carolina (38-29-12).

Zach Parise scored at 5:39 of the first period to give the Wild a 1-0 lead. Lee Stempniak tied it 1-1 1:17 later with his 200th NHL goal, 16th of the season.

"I think it's something I'll look back on later," Stempniak said. "It's a nice number, and I think that you dream about being in the NHL and scoring one goal, and to look back and have 200 at some point is pretty nice."

Jordan Schroeder gave Minnesota a 2-1 lead at 11:05. Jeff Skinner tied it 2-2 with a power-play goal at 16:19.

Nino Niederreiter gave the Wild a 3-2 lead with a rebound goal at 18:16, and Skinner scored his 35th of the season at 19:48 for a 3-3 tie. Skinner has 18 points (14 goals, four assists) in his past 14 games.

Charlie Coyle gave Minnesota a 4-3 lead at 7:25 of the second period, and Niederreiter scored at 14:18 of the third for a 5-3 edge.

 

Goal of the game

Eric Staal passed up to Parise, who one-timed a shot past Ward for his 19th goal of the season.

Video: CAR@MIN: Parise slams home Staal's slick feed

 

Save of the game

Ward denied Jason Pominville with a glove save at 16:15 of the second period.

Video: CAR@MIN: Ward spins around for fantastic glove stop

 

Unsung performance of the game

Martin Hanzal blocked a shot by Teuvo Teravainen at 3:59 of the third period to keep the game tied. Hanzal won 12 faceoffs and had four shots on goal.

 

Highlight of the game

Skinner split the defense and passed up to Stempniak for the tying goal.

Video: CAR@MIN: Skinner stays alert to score his second goal

 

They said it

"It's not an easy thing to do in this league, in this conference, in this division. That says a lot about the consistency that we've been having. You've got to be consistent to be able to be second in the whole conference. Numbers don't lie. Like I said, every year around this time of the year you get what you deserve. It says a lot about the team since game one all the way to here. Now it's just about getting better and preparing ourselves." -- Wild captain Mikko Koivu on earning home ice

 

"We didn't talk about it. We're going to finish hard here. We've got three left, two at home against real good teams, then we go to [play the Philadelphia Flyers] on a back-to-back. So we're going to do it right. We've done it right for a long period of time here recently and we want to finish on a positive note with our effort and our attention to detail." -- Hurricanes coach Bill Peters on being eliminated from playoff contention

 

Need to know

Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon left the game with a lower-body injury near the end of the second period. … Staal had two assists to give him 15 points (eight goals, seven assists) in his past 15 games.

 

What's next

Wild: At the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday (9 p.m. ET; ALT, FS-N, NHL.TV)

Hurricanes: Host the New York Islanders on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; MSG+2, FS-CR, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Parise, Niederreiter power Wild to 5-3 victory

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