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game recap

Haula, Wild defeat Panthers

Minnesota ends nine-game losing streak at Xcel Energy Center

by Dan Myers / Correspondent

Haula steals, jukes and scores

FLA@MIN: Haula steals, breaks away and nets lead

2/29/16: Erik Haula intercepts an errant pass and is able to break away, putting on a nice move to send the puck top-shelf into the net

  • 01:04 •

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- For the second consecutive Sunday, Erik Haula scored a breakaway goal. Only this time the puck went in the net.

Haula's goal with 9:31 remaining in the third period helped the Minnesota Wild to a 3-1 victory against the Florida Panthers at Xcel Energy Center.

It was Haula's eighth goal of the season and first in seven days; he had a breakaway in the 2016 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series game against the Chicago Blackhawks last Sunday but was hauled down en route. The puck never went in the net, but he was credited with a goal.

His goal against the Panthers took considerably more effort.'

With the game tied at 1-1, Haula stripped Panthers defenseman Dmitri Kulikov of the puck inside the Florida offensive zone, poked it through neutral ice, and then split a pair Panthers players. Haula beat goaltender Roberto Luongo with a forehand shot under the crossbar.

Video: FLA@MIN: Parise feeds Coyle for early goal in 1st

Haula also assisted on Jason Pominville's empty-net goal with 39 seconds remaining for his fourth multi-point game in his past eight.

"We needed a full 60 [minute effort]. That's what we've been talking about and I felt like we stuck with it," Haula said. "It always wasn't pretty, but that's how it's going to be from now on.

"But it feels good right now. We need wins right now and that's the bottom line. It doesn't matter who gets them or how it happens in the game, as long as we get those two points."

Minnesota (28-25-10) ended a three-game losing streak and nine-game losing streak at their home arena, winning in St. Paul for the first time since Dec. 28.

"It was all about the win at home," Wild interim coach John Torchetti said. "If you haven't won at home in a long time, it's a feeling you have to be comfortable with out there. The fans deserved it."

Video: FLA@MIN: Ekblad ties it up in the 2nd period

Wild forward Charlie Coyle scored his team-leading 19th goal in the first period and goaltender Devan Dubnyk made 17 saves. Wild captain Mikko Koivu played in his 744th game, surpassing Nick Schultz's franchise record for career games played.

Florida (35-19-8) is 0-1-1 with three games left of a five-game road trip that began with a 4-3 shootout loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday.

"The first two periods weren't bad at all but we made a couple of mistakes in the third period," Panthers coach Gerard Gallant said. "We didn't get a lot of offense in the third but it's tough to lose like that late in the game."

The Wild took a 1-0 lead at 5:18 of the first when forward Zach Parise gained control of the puck along the right half-wall. Parise circled through the high slot to the left circle and found Coyle camped out near the right post for a tap-in past goaltender Al Montoya.

Parise, who missed the past two games with an upper-body injury, has nine points (one goal, eight assists) in his past 10 games.

Video: FLA@MIN: Pominville scores on empty net to seal win

"Always nice to have a guy like him in the lineup. There's nobody like him," Coyle said. "That was an ideal situation, to get on the board early, get some momentum and not play from behind."

Moments later, Montoya left the game with an apparent upper-body injury after he was elbowed in the head by Wild defenseman Marco Scandella at 7:25. Scandella was given a penalty for goalie interference.

Montoya remained on the ice with the trainer before leaving the game after making three saves on four shots. He was replaced by Luongo, who made 21 saves in relief.

"Injuries have been tough this year, especially recently," Panthers forward Nick Bjugstad said. "We've gotta find ways to win, though, and we've done that for the most part. But it's tough to see guys go out like that. You cringe when you see stuff like that."

Florida tied the game at 1-1 with a power-play goal at 7:34 of the second. Aleksander Barkov won a battle along the wall in the right corner, the puck squirted free to Jussi Jokinen, who passed to an open Aaron Ekblad in front. His one-timer from the left hash eluded Dubnyk for his 12th goal of the season.

Video: FLA@MIN: Montoya takes hit to face, leaves game

"We came into the locker room a little more optimistic after the second," Bjugstad said. "[Luongo] held us in there, but we just had too many lapses that cost us."

The Panthers got a late power play and pulled Luongo for a 6-on-4 advantage for nearly a minute, but a too many men on the ice penalty with 1:47 left gave Minnesota a power play.

Pominville scored after the Panthers pulled Luongo for the extra-attacker again to give the Wild a 3-1 lead. The goal was Pominville's 10th of the season.

The shorthanded Panthers played with seven defensemen 24 hours after trading draft picks for three veterans; forwards Jiri Hudler from the Calgary Flames, Teddy Purcell from the Edmonton Oilers and defenseman Jakub Kindl from the Detroit Red Wings. All three players are likely to join the team for their game at the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday.

The Panthers placed forward Derek MacKenzie on injured reserve before the game with an upper-body injury.

Video: Wild snaps three-game losing streak in 3-1 win

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