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Postgame Hat Trick: Wild 4, Coyotes 3

Niederreiter scores pair of power-play goals to push Minnesota past Arizona

by Dan Myers @1DanMyers /

Dan Myers gives three takeaways from the Wild's 4-3 victory against the Arizona Coyotes at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul on Thursday night:

1. Nino Niederreiter scored a pair of power-play goals, including the game-winner for Minnesota (29-10-5) with 7:06 left in the third period.

For Niederreiter, it was his team-leading sixth power-play goal this season, equaling his career high set two years ago, when he scored 24 goals overall.

"He's done a great job on the power play," said Wild coach Bruce Boudreau. "We have different guys every night play well. You'd like to have all 20 playing well every night and you're going to need that come playoff time. Zach [Parise] is in a bit of a slump, Charlie [Coyle] is in a bit of a slump, so other lines pick it up."

The multi-point game was Niederreiter's seventh this season, as the Swiss import reached (then surpassed) the 30-point plateau. His 14 goals are second-most on the club behind Eric Staal (more on him below).

"I feel like as a group our power play has been working really well," Niederreiter said. "We are jumping on loose pucks and trying to shoot pucks more often. That is a key that has helped us be successful." 

Video: Nino Niederreiter Postgame vs Arizona

Niederreiter's first goal came off a one-timer from the left circle at 13:37 of the first period. His winner was a tip-in of a pass from Mikael Granlund in front of Coyotes netminder Louis Domingue.

"It was a huge win for us. We came out hard. We knew they were going to come out hard," Niederreiter said. "They are still a very good team. They are not where they want to be in the standings. We have to be way sharper than we were today. It wasn't our strongest game. We have to find a way to be better."

Minnesota's red-hot power play converted on two of its four opportunities.

It's more of a shock these days when the man advantage doesn't cash in. Minnesota's power play unit has scored at least once in eight of its past nine games and in 13 of its past 16 games. Over the past month, the Wild has the NHL's second-best power play.

2. Staal got back on track after Boudreau shuffled lines prior to the game.

After the first line endured a tough third period on Tuesday against the New Jersey Devils, Boudreau reunited the line of Staal, Niederreiter and Charlie Coyle, a group that had plenty of success in a couple different stretches earlier in the season.

It didn't take long for Boudreau's decision to pay dividends this time, too.

Just 4:39 into the game, Staal led a 2-on-1 into the Coyotes' zone with Niederreiter. With defenseman Kevin Connauton taking away the pass, Staal unleashed a wrist shot that beat Domingue just inside the far-side post for his 16th goal.

"It was one of those bang-bang plays," Staal said. "They got caught cheating down and [Coyle] made a good play getting it up towards the middle and we kind of picked on that D-man, me and [Niederreiter], and I was able to put a good shot off. So we always want that good feeling early in the game to get it going again and I thought we had some good zone time hanging on to pucks and using our size and strength. I think that's our strength as a line and if we keep doing that, good things are gonna happen."

Video: Bruce Boudreau Postgame vs Arizona 

The goal was Staal's 40th point in 44 games this season, surpassing the 39 points he has in 83 games with the Carolina Hurricanes and New York Rangers last year.

"I've been playing with Charlie Coyle for quite awhile. I had some games with Staal as well," Niederreiter said. "I feel like we complement each other very well and know exactly where each other stand and we try to work as hard as possible. It is definitely something that has been working for us." 

3. Jason Pominville dished out a season-best three assists and now has seven points, including six assists, over his past seven games.

As we saw late in the year last season, and during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Pominville can score points in bunches when he's playing well. It appears as though the veteran winger, inserted onto Jonas Brodin's point position on the power play on Thursday, could be entering one of those stretches.

"He's played it before and he's smart and the only thing you really worry about is if they get rushes on you," Boudreau said. "But he handled the puck and made good plays with it."

 Video: Jason Pominville Postgame vs Arizona

The three-helper night tied a career high with Pominville accomplishing the feat for the eighth time in his NHL career. Pominville's strong showing helped Minnesota to victory over Arizona (13-26-6).

"I felt like I've had some opportunities early to get on board a little bit more, and wasn't able to do that," Pominville said. "Tonight's one of those nights where things were working and felt good with the puck and youre able to make some plays, and obviously we scored on them. But yeah, I've been feeling pretty good and it's nice to finally get rewarded for sure."

Loose Pucks

Chris Stewart scored a goal and got into a fight early in the third period, finishing an assist shy of a Gordie Howe hat trick. Stewart has 10 goals this season.

• Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk finished with 20 saves, including eight in the final period.

• Domingue stopped 21 shots.

Mikko Koivu had an assist and now has 27 points over his past 27 games.

Christian Folin played in his 100th NHL game.

• Attendance: 19,027

He Said It

"I'm big on respect in this League, and I didn't like the way that went down at the end of the second. So I thought I would address it in the third, and what happened happened, and it's over with now." -- Wild forward Chris Stewart on his third-period fight

They Said It

"Great play by them. They shot pass to the middle, something that we prepare for, but they executed better than we did. Overall, they got the results." -- Coyotes goaltender Louis Domingue on Niederreiter's game-winning tip-in goal

Three Stars

* Nino Niederreiter

** Jason Pominville

*** Chris Stewart

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