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game recap

Koivu's two goals help Wild defeat Blue Jackets

Win boosts Minnesota in wild-card race; Columbus 1-4-5 in past 10

by Jessi Pierce / Independent Correspondent

Koivu's second goal of the game

CBJ@MIN: Koivu pots backhander for second goal

Mikko Koivu sets up in the slot and backhands the rebound into the back of the net for his second goal of the game and a 4-1 lead

  • 00:32 •

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Mikko Koivu scored twice for the Minnesota Wild in a 5-4 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Xcel Energy Center on Tuesday.

"It's rewarding if we make the [Stanley Cup] Playoffs," Koivu said. "If we don't, I don't think anyone is going to remember if I had two goals or not. … If I can help the team get the win, for sure it's a good feeling. But that's about it, and now we move on to the next one."

Kevin Fiala, Eric Staal and Ryan Donato each had a goal and an assist for the Wild (30-25-7), who are 10-5-1 in their past 16 games and are three points behind the Nashville Predators, Winnipeg Jets and Arizona Coyotes for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference. Alex Stalock made 24 saves.


[WATCH: All Blue Jackets vs. Wild highlights]


Matiss Kivlenieks, who was an emergency call-up following an injury to Elvis Merzlikins in a 4-3 overtime win at the Ottawa Senators on Monday, made 35 saves for the Blue Jackets (31-20-15). Columbus is 1-4-5 in its past 10, seven of those losses coming by one goal. The Blue Jackets lead the Carolina Hurricanes by two points for the second wild card from the Eastern Conference. 

"We put ourselves in that hole and we climb out of it and have a great chance to tie it, but we just can't expect that to be the story or the game every time here," Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno said. "We had great chances. There were a couple great looks at the end. I'm disappointed. I feel like we let one slip away. I don't know what else to say really, it's just disappointing effort in a lot of guys tonight that are normally giving us the minutes."

Staal gave the Wild a 1-0 lead at 1:34 of the first period with a wraparound that went in off Blue Jackets defenseman Scott Harrington.

Video: CBJ@MIN: Staal banks wraparound in off defender

Foligno tied it 1-1 at 13:33 off a rebound. 

Donato scored off a rebound with a lunging backhand to put Minnesota ahead 2-1 at 19:13.

Video: CBJ@MIN: Donato sweeps backhander home from doorstep

"I just wanted to get there first and beat out the icing (call)," Donato said. "I actually tried to shoot it right away, and kudos to my other two linemates to keep it in (the zone) and get a shot on net. It's nice to get rewarded."

Koivu made it 3-1 at 12:08 of the second period and increased the lead to 4-1 on the backhand with 11 seconds left in the period.

Video: CBJ@MIN: Koivu buries snap shot off turnover

Emil Bemstrom cut it to 4-2 off a rebound at the doorstep at 1:55 of the third period. 

Pierre-Luc Dubois pulled Columbus within 4-3 at 3:16.

"If you're counting on them to make a mistake to get going, it's going to be a long game," Dubois said. "I think in the third, we just played. We just made plays. We skated, instead of just waiting and waiting."

Video: CBJ@MIN: Dubois roofs loose puck in tight

Fiala buried a feed from Staal at 9:57 to make it 5-3. 

Zach Werenski beat Wild defenseman Ryan Suter before scoring on a wrist shot at 16:54 for the 5-4 final.

"I'm not trying to be negative," Foligno said. "I like the way we found ourselves, but man, we can't be -- we're not in a position in this room to be spotting teams leads like that and expect to win. We need these points." 

Video: CBJ@MIN: Werenski dekes, rips shot past Stalock


They said it

"I don't think tired is a good excuse. … We can't be tired. We're not in a position to be tired. We do all that work at the start of the year to not be tired, so I don't want to hear that excuse from any guy because it didn't come down to being tired." -- Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno after Columbus' third game in four days

"We're a family here. … Right now we're in a pretty good spot, so we know what we have to do. We believe. We know it's going to be us, especially now with the [NHL Trade] Deadline [having passed]. We're happy to stay with this group and just to continue with this group moving forward." -- Wild forward Kevin Fiala


Need to know

Forward Devin Shore played 12:23 and was 3-for-6 on face-offs in his Blue Jackets debut after being traded from the Anaheim Ducks for forward Sonny Milano on Monday. … Foligno has three goals in his past two games and five points (four goals, one assist) in his past four. … Fiala has 14 points (eight goals, six assists) in his past 11 games. … It was Koivu's first multigoal game since Jan. 5, 2017, at the San Jose Sharks (two goals) and his first multigoal game at home since Dec. 28, 2015, against the Detroit Red Wings (two goals). 


What's next

Blue Jackets: Host the Minnesota Wild on Friday (7 p.m. ET; ESPN+, FS-O, FS-N, NHL.TV)

Wild: At the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET; FS-D, FS-N, FS-WI, NHL.TV)

Video: Koivu, Staal propel Wild past Blue Jackets

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