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game recap

Wild have offensive outburst in Game 3 win

Minnesota overcomes early first-period deficit to defeat Dallas; trails series 2-1

by Dan Myers / Correspondent

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- After losing the first two games in their Western Conference First Round series and trailing by two goals less than five minutes into Game 3 against the Dallas Stars, the Minnesota Wild had nothing to lose.

Facing a potential win-or-go-home situation in Game 4, the Wild scored four unanswered goals in a 5-3 win at Xcel Energy Center on Monday.

Dallas leads the best-of-7 series 2-1. Game 4 is at Xcel Energy Center on Wednesday (9:30 p.m., ET; NBCSN, FS-SW, FS-N, FS-WI, SN360, TVA Sports 3).

Stars forward Patrick Sharp scored 26 seconds in, and then made it 2-0 less than four minutes later.

Minnesota, which scored a total of one goal in Games 1 and 2 in Dallas, was determined to get back in the series.

"We threw the kitchen sink at them," Wild forward Erik Haula said.

Video: DAL@MIN, Gm3: Haula deflects it home to even score

The strategy worked. Slowly, shift by shift, the Wild won more puck battles, the game moved to their offensive end, and for the first time in the series, Minnesota routinely challenged Dallas goaltender Kari Lehtonen.

Chris Porter's goal with 50 seconds remaining in the first period was a turning point. Haula wheeled around at the point and saw Porter tapping his stick on the ice. He sent a pass toward the right circle and Porter got hit stick on it, deflecting past Lehtonen.

"I was just letting him know that I was open," Porter said. "I just kind of gripped the stick and swung it like a golf club and fortunate for me it did find the back. We did build some momentum after that."

Haula and Jason Pominville followed with goals in the second and Mikko Koivu capped the run early in the third when Minnesota won a Stanley Cup Playoff game when trailing by multiple goals for the second time in franchise history.

Video: DAL@MIN, Gm3: Porter deflects puck past Lehtonen

"We don't make it easy on ourselves. We have a history of that," Pominville said. "We've got to dig ourselves out of holes but for the most part we've responded pretty well, first to get into the postseason, second to respond the way we did tonight."

The Wild won for the sixth time this season when allowing the first goal (6-27-6). The victory also ended a seven-game losing streak dating to the regular season.

"It's only a two-game losing streak for me in the playoffs, that was the number one thing," Wild coach John Torchetti said. "It's one-two, now we have to come out, get a good effort, not worrying about what happened before. That was a big response for our fans. They deserved that type of play, and we want to come out again, and if they come out and support us like that, we want to give them a hard game again."

Dallas was outshot for the first time in the series (25-17), outhit (20-18), had fewer blocks (24-17), lost in the faceoff circle (51 percent to 49 percent) and lost the special teams battle.

Video: DAL@MIN, Gm3: Pominville follows play, jams home puck

After the first half of the first period, the Stars didn't threaten until the final half of the third period.

"We didn't play near as well as we needed to play," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. "That's probably as bad as I've seen us play in maybe five weeks. When you look at some of the one-on-one battles that we lost, you lose enough of those, you're going to lose a big battle, too."

Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk made 14 saves; Lehtonen finished with 20 saves.

Sharp's goal in the opening minute came after a turnover along the left half-wall. Stars defenseman Alex Goligoski intercepted the puck and sent it toward Sharp on the doorstep, who stuck his stick blade out for a tip.

Sharp scored his second of the game at 4:10, flying in down the left hand side and beating Dubnyk with a snap shot glove side. It was his ninth goal and 17th point in 18 career playoff games against the Wild.

Video: DAL@MIN, Gm3: Sharp beats Dubnyk for second goal

Porter's goal gave the Wild life into the first intermission and Minnesota came out rolling in the second, putting the first five shots on goal. Haula tied it at 6:04, tipping a Pominville shot near the goalmouth.

Pominville scored in the final minute of the third, finishing off a rebound of a Nino Niederreiter shot from in tight at 19:13. Niederreiter had two assists.

"They were riding high off a couple goals and the fans got pretty excited," Stars captain Jamie Benn said. "We're going to see a lot of that on the road here and we've got to be prepared to be in these situations and find a way to slow down their momentum."

Koivu's goal came on the power play at 6:26 of the third when he poked in a loose puck in the crease.

Dallas got within one at 6:15 on Colton Sceviour's goal that deflected in off his chest to make it 4-3. The Stars got Lehtonen to the bench with 1:35 remaining in regulation, but Pominville scored from center ice into an empty net 20 seconds later.

Video: Pominville leads Wild to 5-3 win

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