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Wild blow three-goal lead, but top Stars in OT

by Steve Hunt

DALLAS -- Even after Darcy Kuemper allowed three goals late in the second period, Minnesota Wild coach Mike Yeo never lost faith in his young goaltender.

Yeo's faith was rewarded when Kuemper stopped 19 of 20 shots in the third period to help the resilient Wild overcome their second-period collapse and defeat the Dallas Stars 5-4 in overtime at American Airlines Center on Friday.

Kuemper's performance was especially impressive considering he had allowed four goals Tuesday in a 4-0 loss to the Los Angeles Kings.

"This is twice now coming into this building he's bounced back," Yeo said of his 24-year-old goalie, referring to the Wild’s 2-1 win Nov. 15, two days after Kuemper was pulled after allowing two goals on two shots against the Buffalo Sabres. "But I think even more importantly, overcoming the adversity of that second period, for him the way he came out in the third period, have to be real impressed."

Marco Scandella scored his fifth goal 2:04 into overtime to give Minnesota (13-9-0) the victory. The Wild have won two in a row.

The Wild, who led 2-0 after one period and 3-0 midway through the second, had allowed four unanswered goals before Thomas Vanek tied it with 1:52 remaining in regulation to force overtime.

"It's obviously not the start I wanted," said Vanek, who has two goals in 22 games since signing with the Wild as a free agent this summer. "I can't dwell on the last 20 games or whatever it has been. It's just about coming the next day and then staying positive. I feel like I have done that."

Vanek (goal, two assists) joined Zach Parise (three assists) with three points in the victory.

Scandella's game-winner came when he tapped in a Parise pass at the near post. Vanek had fed a streaking Parise in the slot, and Parise flipped a backhand pass to Scandella.

Scandella also scored an overtime winner in a 4-3 victory against the Winnipeg Jets on Nov. 16, another game in which the Wild blew a 3-0 lead.

"I just saw a play that we were attacking," Scandella said. "I just wanted to get to the net and with a guy like Zach Parise, you always have to be ready for a pass, and he made a great play."

Minnesota took a 2-0 lead in the first period on goals by Nino Niederreiter andJason Zucker. The Wild went ahead by three midway through the second when Mikael Granlund scored off the rush.

"Real tough first period where we turned the puck over and (it) ended up in the back of our net," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. "I thought after the first period (we) dominated the game."

Dallas (9-9-4), which saw its three-game winning streak snapped, answered in a big way, tying the game with three goals in a span of 3:31 at the end of the second. Ales Hemsky, Tyler Seguin and Erik Cole each scored for the Stars to tie the game.

Dallas took its first lead with 6:31 left in regulation when defenseman Alex Goligoski scored his first of the season on a wrist shot from the right circle that beat Kuemper to his short side.

The Wild tied it with 1:52 remaining when Vanek beat Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen short side with a wrist shot from the right circle. Vanek's equalizer came nine seconds after Kuemper had left the ice in favor of an extra attacker.

"A rollercoaster of emotions," Scandella said of the game. "We showed resiliency. They got chances, but we weren't flustered when they scored goals. We came back. We settled things down and we came back to win."

The Stars finished their season-high five-game homestand 3-1-1.

"I think you look at the big picture, we had five games, we got seven out of 10 points. You'd probably like to get eight. We got seven. We battled for a point (tonight), which is awesome." Ruff said. "There's a lot of good in the game, but we seem to throw something really bitter in there to make it hard for me to stand here and tell you I like most parts of our game."

Stars rookie defenseman Jryki Jokipakka had two assists to earn his first NHL points.

Niederreiter's goal, his 11th, came after he knocked in a Vanek pass with a slap shot from the slot 8:41 into the first period. Vanek gained possession by intercepting Jokipakka's attempted clearance at the far wall.

Vanek fed a wide open Niederreiter with a backhand pass, and Niederreiter converted for his seventh goal in the past eight games.

The Wild went ahead 2-0 late in the period when Zucker scored his ninth off a rebound. Lehtonen denied the initial shot by Nate Prosser from the right circle with a pad save. Zucker got open and skated in to knock in the carom with a backhand 2:31 before first intermission.

Minnesota padded its lead at 11:47 of the second when Granlund flipped a wrist shot past Lehtonen for his third goal, all of which have come against Dallas. Jason Pominville fed Granlund from the right side, and Granlund converted from the slot.

Then came the Stars' rally.

Hemsky's goal, his first with Dallas, came 3:42 before second intermission. He displayed some great stick work, first taking the puck inside and then back outside to gain some space against Wild defenseman Ryan Suter before finishing with a wrist shot into the far side of the net.

"It's nice to score the goal finally. Been a long time," Hemsky said.

The Stars cut it to 3-2 when Seguin scored his League-leading 18th goal at 18:50. Seguin's wrist shot from the slot deflected in off Wild defenseman Nate Spurgeon.

Dallas scored the equalizer with 11 seconds remaining in the second when Cole beat Kuemper top shelf on the short side. Cole received the puck near the Minnesota blue line on a pass from Trevor Daley before he finished from the right circle, beating Kuemper on his blocker side for his fifth goal.

Lehtonen stopped 29 shots for Dallas.

The Stars are 4-5-5 at home.

"More of the same," Cole said of Dallas blowing another lead late at home. "It's not enough at times, let another two points slide by."

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