LW Zach Parise scored two goals to lift Minnesota to a 4-1 win in Game 6 and a 4-2 series victory in its first round series against St. Louis, Sunday afternoon in front of a sellout crowd of 19,318 at Xcel Energy Center. RW Justin Fontaine scored the game-winning goal for the Wild while RW Nino Niederreiter netted an empty-net goal. G Devan Dubnyk made 30 saves to earn the victory. Minnesota will face the Chicago Blackhawks in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the second straight postseason.
For the first time in franchise history, Minnesota clinched a playoff series victory on home ice and before a Game 7. The Wild had won three of its previous eight playoff series, all on the road in Game 7.
Today marked the fourth time in franchise history the Wild has entered a game leading its playoff series (three times this series and once in 2008 vs. Colorado). Today’s win was the first time Minnesota ever won a playoff game when holding a series lead.
The Wild moved to 3-0 when scoring the game’s first goal this series. This season, the Wild went 35-6-4 when scoring first, including wins in 22 of its last 25 games where it netted the opening goal.
LW Zach Parise opened the game’s scoring with his second career postseason shorthanded goal, adding a goal in the third period for his fifth career multi-goal playoff game and registering a plus-2 rating. He is now tied for the franchise record in all-time playoff scoring with 22 points (8-14=22) in 24 playoff games with the Wild (Gaborik 12-10=22 in 29 games). Parise is already the franchise leader in playoff assists. The alternate captain leads Minnesota in goals (3), assists (4) and points (7) this series. He’s the sixth player in Wild playoff history to score a shorthanded goal – the first since Marco Scandella at Colorado April 9, 2014. Parise leads all Wild players with 65 points (29-36=65) in 85 career NHL postseason games.
RW Justin Fontaine scored the Wild’s game-winning goal, his second career playoff goal and first this series. He has tied his playoff career high with two points (1-1=2) this postseason.
D Marco Scandella earned the lone assist on Fontaine’s goal. The Wild defensemen has two points (1-1=2) in the last two games and a playoff career-high three points (2-1=3) this series. He also skated 23:50, his second-highest career playoff TOI.
C Mikael Granlund registered the secondary assist on Parise’s second goal. He set a career high with four playoff assists. He leads the Wild with a plus-4 rating and is T-2nd on the team with five points (1-4=5) this postseason.
RW Jason Pominville tallied the primary assist on Parise’s second goal. He ranks T-2nd on the Wild with five points this postseason (2-3=5). He owns 14 points (4-10=14) in his last 17 playoff games and has 42 points (16-26=42) in 66 career playoff contests.
RW Nino Niederreiter netted an empty-net goal and has posted a goal in back-to-back games. He is tied for the Wild lead with three goals this postseason, has four points (3-1=4) in the last four games and has 10 points (6-4=10) in 19 career playoff games.
C Mikko Koivu recorded the sole assist on Niederreiter’s goal and won 20-of-32 faceoffs (62.5%). The 20 faceoff wins marks a playoff career-high. The Wild captain is the franchise all-time leader with 35 playoff games and has 16 points (7-9=16) in that span.
RW T.J. Oshie scored the lone goal for St. Louis. G Jake Allen stopped 11-of-13 shots before being replaced in net by G Brian Elliott, who made six saves.