SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — Mikko Koivu
had a goal and four assists and Antti Miettinen scored twice on the power play to help the Minnesota Wild stay unbeaten with a 6-2 victory over the Florida Panthers on Thursday night.
Koivu’s four assists tied a franchise record and gave him eight assists in three games. Miettinen added an assist and has five goals in three games, all wins for the Wild. Andrew Brunette, Kim Johnsson and Benoit Pouliot also scored for Minnesota.
It’s the third consecutive season Minnesota has started off with three consecutive victories. The Wild started 5-0 last season and 6-0 in 2006-07.
Nick Boynton and Karlis Skrastins scored for Florida (1-2).
Nicklas Backstrom made 24 saves for Minnesota. He improved to 10-0-4 with one no-decision in his last 15 starts.
Florida’s Tomas Vokoun allowed four goals on 22 shots in the first two periods before being replaced by Craig Anderson.
Minnesota has won the last seven meetings between the teams.
Minnesota Wild left wing Antti Miettinen, left, of Finland, celebrates with Andrew Brunette (15) after scoring a goal in the second period against the Florida Panthers during an NHL hockey game in Sunrise, Fla. Thursday, Oct. 16, 2008.
Minnesota Wild left wing Antti…
AP - Oct 16, 9:39 pm EDT
Miettinen, the first player to score in his first two games in a Minnesota uniform, made it three straight at 13:29 of the second period with a power-play goal that increased the Wild’s lead to 3-1.
He took a pass from Koivu on the wing and fired a wrist shot that went off the stick of defenseman Jay Bouwmeester and over a sliding Vokoun.
Miettinen’s second goal also came on the power play—and off another pass from Koivu. Miettinen tipped in Koivu’s pass across the goal mouth to make it 5-2 at 6:21 of the third period.
Koivu scored his first of the season on another power play at 16:00. He beat Anderson with a low wrist shot to the glove side.
Pouliot took advantage of Boynton’s over aggressiveness to make it 4-2.
As Pouliot was getting away from defenseman Keith Ballard at the blue line, Boynton moved up to deliver a big check but barely hit Pouliot. Pouliot then skated in alone on Vokoun and beat him with a wrist shot to the short side.
Florida Panthers goalkeeper Tomas Vokoun, of the Czech Republic, can't stop the puck on a goal scored by Minnesota Wild right wing Antti Miettnen, of Finland, not shown, in the second period during an NHL hockey game in Sunrise, Fla. Thursday, Oct. 16, 2008.
Florida Panthers goalkeeper To…
AP - Oct 16, 9:37 pm EDT
That goal capped a wide-open second period that saw the teams combine for five goals.
Johnsson made it 2-0 at 2:58 when his wrist shot from the point went off the skate of Ballard. Boynton made it 2-1 by tipping in Ballard’s shot from the top of the faceoff circle.
After Miettinen made it 3-1, Skrastins beat Backstrom with a slap shot from the point.
Skrastins made his season debut and played in his 600th NHL game after missing Florida’s first two games because of a neck injury. … To make room on the roster for Skrastins, the Panthers put D Bryan McCabe on the injured list. He has been out since sustaining a back injury in Florida’s opener at Carolina on Oct. 10. … Florida was penalized twice in the third period for having too many men on the ice. … Backstrom’s last loss in regulation came March 4, 2008, against Chicago (4-2). … The game matched the youngest (Florida’s Peter DeBoer, 40) and oldest (Minnesota’s Jacques Lemaire, 63) coaches in the NHL.