ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Mikko Koivu capped a milestone game with the shootout winner.
Playing in his 1,000th career game, the Minnesota captain reached 700th career points with a second-period assist, then scored in the fourth round of the tiebreaker to help the Wild beat the Dallas Stars 3-2 on Sunday.
Koivu, playing his 15th season with the Wild, beat Ben Bishop with his trademark move, a backhand over the goalie’s left shoulder. Then Alex Stalock, who made 26 saves, stuffed Corey Perry to seal the victory.
“I just tried to pick a move that I'm comfortable with,” said Koivu, who scored his 42nd career shootout goal in 106 attempts. “It's always a challenge to go to the shootout against the goaltending in this league. But yeah. It was a good feeling.”
Kevin Fiala had a goal and an assist and Zach Parise also scored for the Wild. Both also scored in the first three rounds of the shootout, but Joe Pavelski and Tyler Seguin countered for Dallas. That forced Wild coach Bruce Boudreau’s hand when deciding on a fourth shooter.
“I didn’t know what I was doing, quite frankly,” said Boudreau, whose team is 6-0-3 in its last nine games. “Initially I wasn’t going to put (Koivu) in because he hadn’t scored in the shootout in like two years. But I figured he was rested because he didn’t play in overtime, and it was his day … all the stars were shining in the right direction, so go out there and win it.”
Blake Comeau and John Klingberg scored for Dallas and Bishop stopped 27 shots. The Stars have lost three in a row after a 14-1-1 run.
After averaging 3.9 goals per game in their hot stretch, the Stars have managed just three goals in their three-game losing streak. But Dallas coach Jim Montgomery isn’t hitting the panic button just yet.
“I think we have too many good hockey players,” Montgomery said. “I know a lot of people’s numbers aren’t where we’d like them to be, but if we play like that I’m pretty sure we’re going to score four goals on most nights.”
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Dallas took a 2-1 lead with 5:51 to play when Comeau finally beat Stalock after a flurry of prime scoring opportunities.
Parise tied it back up on the power play with 2:30 to go when he whacked a rebound out of the air and sent it over Bishop’s shoulder. It was Parise’s eighth goal in his last nine games and 12th of the season.
“I saw the puck go up, and in your mind you’re waiting it seems like for a long time,” Parise said. “You’re just waiting for it to get below the crossbar, waiting and waiting. And I hit it square.”
That led to overtime, where the Wild have struggled. They’ve lost all four of their games decided in overtime this season, including two in a row last week. But Minnesota outshot Dallas 3-1 and controlled the puck for much of the extra session.
“At this point, maybe getting through overtime is a win for us,” Parise said.
The win moved the Wild to within five points of fourth-place Dallas in the Central Division, which many consider to be the deepest in the league.
“We’re disappointed we didn’t take two points, but to come in here and get one, it’s something to build off,” Comeau said.
NOTES: Boudreau said G Devan Dubnyk, who has been out since Nov. 16 as his wife deals with health issues, would not accompany the Wild on their three-game road trip this week. ... Fiala extended his points streak to four games and has six goals and six assists in his last 13 games. ... The Stars had won five straight and seven of nine against the Wild.
Stars: At Winnipeg on Tuesday night.
Wild: At Florida on Tuesday night.
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