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game recap

Penguins score seven, spoil Wild home opener

Rookie Lafferty has three points for Pittsburgh; Minnesota loses fourth straight to start season

by Jessi Pierce / NHL.com Independent Correspondent

Lafferty's first NHL goal

PIT@MIN: Lafferty scores on empty net for first goal

Sam Lafferty sends the puck from the Penguins' zone into the empty net to pick up his first career NHL goal and seal a 7-4 Penguins win

  • 00:44 •

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Pittsburgh Penguins handed the Minnesota Wild their fourth straight loss to start the season in their home opener, 7-4 at Xcel Energy Center on Saturday.

Rookies Sam Lafferty and Adam Johnson each scored his first NHL goal for the Penguins (3-2-0). Lafferty, playing his third NHL game, had two assists, and Johnson, playing his eighth, had one.

"I think these guys, they've shown that they can come in and have an impact on the game," Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said. "Our fourth line (Johnson, Joseph Blandisi and Lafferty) had three goals tonight. It was good. I thought the fourth line in general, they played minutes for us tonight, and we're going to need that moving forward."

 

[WATCH: All Penguins vs. Wild highlights]

 

Jared Spurgeon had a goal and two assists, and Brad Hunt had a goal and an assist for the Wild (0-4-0), who are off to the worst start in their history and have been outscored 21-10.

"A win would stop it," Minnesota coach Bruce Boudreau said. "A win would make them feel a lot better. A win would give them confidence in themselves."

Patric Hornqvist redirected a Justin Schultz shot on the power play at 14:54 of the first period to make it 1-0.

Sidney Crosby scored with a backhand to put the Penguins ahead 2-0 at 3:26 of the second period.

Video: PIT@MIN: Crosby nets nifty backhander on break

Jason Zucker made it 2-1 at 3:24 with a power-play goal.

Johnson gave Pittsburgh a 3-1 lead at 11:11. The 25-year-old forward scored into an open net off the rebound of a Lafferty shot.

"I just hoped I could get all of it," Johnson said. "I just blacked out for a little bit, and it ended up in the back of the net. I was happy I got lucky enough for it to bounce right to me. It was a good shot by Lafferty there."

Letang made it 4-1 at 12:58. He got to the rebound of Brian Dumoulin's shot from the point and scored from the right face-off circle.

Video: PIT@MIN: Letang outwaits Dubnyk on rebound

Blandisi scored his first goal with the Penguins to make it 5-1 at 13:39. Johnson negated an icing call and passed to Blandisi from behind the net.

Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk was pulled after allowing five goals on 23 shots. Alex Stalock made 10 saves in relief.

Spurgeon scored on a wrist shot from the bottom of the left circle to make it 5-2 at 16:46.

Joel Eriksson Ek scored for the Wild at 7:55 of the third period, but the goal was waved off for goaltender interference by Ryan Hartman against Matt Murray. Boudreau challenged, but the call on the ice was confirmed by video review, and Minnesota was assessed a delay of game penalty.

Jake Guentzel scored a power-play goal off a pass from Hornqvist to make it 6-2 at 10:48.

Video: PIT@MIN: Guentzel taps home puck for PPG

Hunt made it 6-3 at 15:23, and Luke Kunin scored 21 seconds later to make it 6-4 at 15:44.

Lafferty scored into an empty net at 18:49 for the 6-5 final.

"We played well. Played structured," said Murray, who made 29 saves. "Did everything we had to do to pick two points on the road."

Video: PIT@MIN: Hornqvist, Schultz combine for PPG

 

They said it

"That's the only way you win is with everyone contributing. I think with those guys, just the way they skate and with how fast they are on the forecheck, and what they're able to do that way, they're going to create chances just by that. I think with every game they'll get more and more comfortable, and you could see tonight, they got some huge goals for us." -- Penguins captain Sidney Crosby on the play of their fourth line of Adam Johnson, Joseph Blandisi and Sam Lafferty

"It's like we get a woe-is-me attitude. We're down instead of picking up our shoes like we did the last five minutes and saying let's go get them. Until we learn how to quit feeling sorry for ourselves, it's not going to work." -- Wild coach Bruce Boudreau

"Every year you have to create your identity. And the good teams get to that identity right away, and the teams that struggle out of the gates … they're trying to find that identity, and obviously we're that team right now." -- Wild defenseman Ryan Suter

 

Need to know

Murray got his 100th NHL win in his 166th game, the fastest in Penguins history. He is the eighth NHL goalie since 1967-68 to reach 100 wins in 166 or fewer games. … Letang is one point from 500 in the NHL. He would be the first Penguins defenseman to reach 500. … Letang, who had an assist on Crosby's goal, has two goals and four assists during a five-game point streak to start the season. … Crosby, who had an assist on Hornqvist's goal, has three goals and five assists during a five-game point streak. … The Wild lost in regulation in their home opener for the first time (14-1-4).

 

What's next

Penguins: At the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN360, SN1, TVAS, ATTSN-PT, NHL.TV)

Wild: At the Ottawa Senators on Monday (1 p.m. ET; TSN5, RDS, FS-N, FS-WI, NHL.TV)

Video: Lafferty, Crosby power Penguins past Wild, 7-4

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