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game recap

Wild rally to defeat Maple Leafs

Eric Staal scores twice for Minnesota; Auston Matthews gets fifth for Toronto

by Jessi Pierce / NHL.com Correspondent

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Eric Staal scored twice, and the Minnesota Wild won their third straight game, 3-2 against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Xcel Energy Center on Thursday.

Wild forward Zac Dalpe tied the game 2-2 at 2:27 of the third period, and Staal scored his second at 11:53, through a screen by Zach Parise.

In his first season with the Wild, Staal leads Minnesota (3-1-0) with three goals in four games. He had 13 goals in 83 games last season with the Carolina Hurricanes and New York Rangers.

"I never felt like I forgot how to play," Staal said. "I knew I could play and I've been in this league a long time. But I needed to come here [to Minnesota] and be ready in training camp, and be fit and hungry. I've done that, and now it's about continuing to build. It's only been four games. I've got a long way to go, but it's been a good start for me and hopefully this team keeps picking up wins, because that's what it's all about."

Video: TOR@MIN: Staal centers feed for his second goal

Auston Matthews scored on a rebound off a William Nylander shot at 15:28 of the second period to give Toronto a 2-1 lead. It was Matthews' fifth goal of the season, his first since his four-goal debut against the Ottawa Senators in the season opener on Oct. 12.

Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Gardiner passed to Roman Polak at the point, and he made it 1-0 at 9:13. Minnesota has allowed the first goal in each of its games.

"I thought we played well tonight," Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock said. "[We] controlled a lot of play with lots of real good chances. You [have to] give their goalie (Devan Dubnyk, 31 saves) a lot of credit. And we shot it wide of lots of empty nets. We're still set up, though, going into the third to find a way to win a game and we didn't do that.

"I didn't think we got on our heels at all tonight, though. … In the end, they shot it in our net and we didn't shoot it in theirs."

The Wild tied it 1-1 at 10:09 of the second, when Charlie Coyle found Staal for a breakaway.

Video: TOR@MIN: Matthews puts home a rebound for the lead

 

Goal of the game

Dalpe kept Maple Leafs forward Connor Brown at bay and controlled the puck down the right side of the ice before cutting toward the net and shooting the puck top shelf to tie the game.

"That's what we work hard in the summer for," Dalpe said. "Thank my brother for playing defense all summer. We had some 1-on-1 battles and I came out on top. He came out on top. It was nice to get a goal. An Ontario kid (Paris) scoring against the [Maple] Leafs, that was a pleasure for sure."

Video: TOR@MIN: Dalpe races in to beat Enroth to even game

 

Saves of the game

At 12:38 of the second period, Toronto goalie Jhonas Enroth made a blocker save against Christian Folin but lost his stick. Enroth continued to play 30 seconds without a stick and stopped two Minnesota shots.

"I thought he played pretty good," Babcock said of Enroth's debut with the Maple Leafs. "In the end, we give up two goals in the third, so it's one of those things we [have to] find a way to keep the puck [out of] our net."

 

Unsung moment of the game

Dubnyk lost his stick after Matthews' shot hit the crossbar on a Toronto power play at 15:06 in the third. Dubnyk made one more save and Minnesota successfully killed the penalty to keep the 3-2 lead.

 

Highlight of the game

Coyle spun off the boards to find Staal skating up the center. Staal had two steps on the defenseman and tied the game.

"I mean, yeah, it feels good to contribute," Staal said. "Any time you come to a new team, you want to be a contributing player right away."

Video: TOR@MIN: Staal puts one home on breakaway attempt

 

They said it

"I like the way we play. I like how quick we play. I'd like us to win the games we should win, but I think we've done a lot of good things. We're .500 after four (1-1-2), and as we grow up here a little bit, we just [have to] hang in the hunt the best we possibly can because we're going to get better fast. I like our back end. I like the depth we have up front, and so we just [have] to keep the puck out a little better." -- Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock

 

"It looks familiar. So I do (respect Dalpe). You have a little extra place in your heart for the minor-league guys that come up that have played most of their life in the minor leagues and then they come up and they end up doing a really good job when given the chance." -- Wild coach Bruce Boudreau on Zac Dalpe

 

Need to know

Matthews leads the NHL with five goals. …Toronto defenseman Martin Marincin was out with a lower-body injury. Babcock said it doesn't appear to be serious. Polak replaced Marincin in the lineup. … Minnesota defenseman Jared Spurgeon left the game at 11:20 of the third period and is day to day with an upper-body injury. … Wild defenseman Marco Scandella was scratched because of illness. Matt Dumba, who was expected to be a healthy scratch, replaced Scandella in the lineup. … Coyle extended his point streak to four games with an assist.

Video: TOR@MIN: Polak opens scoring with a heavy slap shot

 

What's next

Maple Leafs: At the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; CBC, WGN, NHL.TV)

Wild: At the New Jersey Devils on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; FS-N, FS-WI, MSG+, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Staal pots two to help Wild edge Leafs, 3-2

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