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Koivu keeps Wild alive in series

Minnesota captain ties Game 5, scores OT winner against Stars

by Steve Hunt / Correspondent

DALLAS -- Heading into Game 5 against the Dallas Stars in the Western Conference First Round, Minnesota Wild captain Mikko Koivu had one goal in four games.

On Friday, Koivu scored the final two goals, tying it late in the third period and winning it 4:55 into overtime.

Minnesota stayed alive in the best-of-7 series and will host Game 6 at Xcel Energy Center on Sunday (3 p.m. ET; NBC, SN, TVA Sports).

"Of course, it's always nice to score," Koivu said. "You're always trying to do that. It's more important in the bigger picture how you play individually and as a team. We're doing a lot of good things. We've been playing better as the series goes on here, and that's a good sign."

Koivu's contributions to this road victory didn't just come on the score sheet. He also delivered the veteran leadership he's been known for since the Wild named him captain in October 2009.

Video: MIN@DAL, Gm5: Koivu scores twice, including OT winner

"Well, I think that he really wanted it, that's for sure," Wild coach John Torchetti said. "I don't know all the stat stuff and all that, I just know that his leadership, that's what it's all about. Like we said when we were [trailing] 0-2 and you talk about leadership, leaders find a way to get things done. And definitely our leaders, Mikko [Koivu], [Ryan Suter], [Jared Spurgeon], they all stepped up tonight."

Koivu, who led the Wild with 56 points (39 assists) this season, scored twice for the first time in 44 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

"I know it sounds like a cliché, but it's all about the next one," Koivu said. "It's about the next goal, it's about the next game, and that's what it is. That was a good learning experience for us, and being able to handle that, especially in the third, especially late in the game [will help us going forward]. Even if you lose the momentum, that will happen too, so you just have to respond the right way, and we did."

Koivu scored the game-winner by knocking a wrist shot by Suter from the left point out of the air and through the five-hole of Stars goaltender Antti Niemi.

"I was just trying to get it to the net," Suter said. "I saw we had someone going to the net, and I was just trying to get it in there for him to get a stick on. And finally, it happened; [Koivu] got a stick on it."

Minnesota trails the series 3-2; it won Game 3 at home on Monday.

"It's a new game when we go home, and we have to start preparing right now," Koivu said. "It doesn't really matter how you get the win, it's only one win, and like I said, you to have to prepare the right way to make sure we're ready to go when the puck drops in [Minnesota]."

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