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Koivu has three points for Wild in win vs. Rangers

by Dan Myers /

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Minnesota Wild maintain nothing is different about their game, but the results suggest otherwise.

The Wild ran their point streak to nine-straight games with a 5-2 win against the New York Rangers at Xcel Energy Center on Thursday.

After scoring a total of 13 goals in the first seven games of its streak, Minnesota (17-7-6) has scored 11 goals in its past two games. They used a three-goal third period that turned a close game into a blowout.

The slumping power play, which had scored once in its previous 21 chances prior to Tuesday's win against the Vancouver Canucks, converted twice Thursday has five in their past two games.

"I don't think anything is different, we were still generating a lot of chances, the puck wasn't going in," Wild forward Mikko Koivu said. "I don't think the answer is going to change if we're creating. I believe you're going to get some goals as well and right now, they're going in."

Koivu had two goals and an assist on Thursday and has at least one goal in each of his past three games. His 28 points lead the Wild and the captain is on pace for his best offensive season since he scored 71 points in 2009-10.

"I'm happy for him. He went through a spell where he was getting chances, things were happening but the puck wasn't going in," Wild coach Mike Yeo said. "It's a good lesson for everybody, younger players especially, that you just have to stick with it."

The Rangers (19-10-4) have lost four of their past five games and dropped to 2-4-2 in the month of December. They likely will be without backup goaltender Antti Raanta, who left the game Thursday with a head injury after being hit square in the mask by a slap shot by Wild defenseman Marco Scandella almost 13 minutes into the game.

"He obviously has a head injury but we will find out a little bit more [Friday]," coach Alain Vigneault told the Rangers website after the game. "Obviously we have to do something cap-wise, we have to call up a goaltender for tomorrow. I am going to talk to [general manager] Jeff [Gorton] on the way to the airport and we will figure it out."

Raanta made three saves and was replaced by Henrik Lundqvist, who allowed four goals on 31 shots.

"It's tough to come in like that in the first," Lundqvist said. "I felt good there in the second but in the third, I just need to be better. That fourth one was a killer and I know that comes down to focus."

Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk made 21 saves in his first start since missing four games with a groin injury. He gloved a penalty shot by Keith Yandle, a former teammate with the Arizona Coyotes, 49 seconds into the game to set the tone.

"I've seen that move a couple of times so I was ready for it," Dubnyk said. "I actually didn't think he was going to do it. He's scored on me lots that way in practice in Arizona. I stuck my glove out there to protect from it and was preparing for something else. It's a dangerous move unless you know it."

Koivu scored 8:27 of the first period to give the Wild a 1-0 lead. A turnover in the neutral zone went to Zach Parise, who dumped the puck behind the net. Thomas Vanek retrieved it and centered a pass to Koivu who beat Raanta five-hole.

Minnesota pushed its lead to 2-0 on a power-play goal by Matt Dumba. Mikael Granlund controlled the puck along the right half wall and passed to Nino Niederreiter at the bottom of the right circle. His strong move to the net bounced off traffic and into the air. Dumba, pinching near the left post, took a swing at the puck and connected for his fifth at 17:30.

An aggressive forecheck by Tanner Glass behind the Wild net forced a turnover late in the second period. Emerson Etem retrieved the puck and centered it to Dominic Moore at the left hash. His snap shot beat Dubnyk glove side for his third goal with 8.9 seconds remaining in the second.

Jason Pominville scored a power-play goal on a partial breakaway at 9:38 and Chris Porter scored on a bad angle shot less than a minute later to make it 4-1 at 10:18.

"I thought we were right there for two periods," Vigneault said. "But they got that goal to make it 3-1 and obviously after that, we didn't manage the puck real well and they got quite a few looks."

Pominville also hit a post moments before his goal, the third of the game for the Wild.

"It's crazy how things go. There were a few [posts] tonight," Pominville said. "It could have been more [than five goals]. Some nights they're hitting posts and not going in, but we stuck with it and defended well and it led to us scoring a little more."

Ryan McDonagh scored for the Rangers to make it 4-2 at 16:23 before Koivu's second of the game made it 5-2 at 17:43.

Center Jarret Stoll played 11:16 of ice time and was credited with a team-high three hits in his first game with the Wild after being claimed off waivers from the Rangers on Tuesday.

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