ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Wild have been on quite a run the past month, but they’d never had a period like the final one Sunday night.
Zach Parise scored twice and the Wild set a franchise record with six goals in the third period of a 6-2 victory over the Dallas Stars.
The Wild are an NHL-best 11-1-1 since the All-Star break, outscoring the opposition 40-19 during that stretch to get into playoff position for the first time since Nov. 24.
“It felt like for the longest time we were winning and not going anywhere,” Parise said. “It’s a long way to go, but you’ve got to get in sometime and somehow, and it’s nice to be back in.”
Mikko Koivu, Stephane Veilleux, Matt Dumba and Mikael Granlund also had goals for the Wild during the highest-scoring period in franchise history.
“Yeah, I totally saw it coming,” coach Mike Yeo said with a laugh.
Making his 17th straight start since being acquired from Arizona in mid-January, Devan Dubnyk finished with 18 saves to improve to 13-2-1 with Minnesota.
“We just believe we can do it in here,” he said. “The conversation between the second and third period was exactly that — just a strong belief in here that if we went out there and did what we were capable of doing that we could take the game over. Obviously, you never expect to put up six in a period.”
Jason Spezza scored twice for Dallas, which is 0-2-1 in its last three. The Stars have allowed 18 goals in that span, including seven during Saturday’s home loss to Detroit.
It was only the second time in 27 games this season that the Stars lost in regulation when leading after two periods (21-2-4).
“Between yesterday’s game and tonight it’s just unacceptable. Good teams don’t do that. We’ve got to find a way to really hunker down and not do that,” defenseman Alex Goligoski said.
Parise tied the score 1-all just 100 seconds into the third period.
From the left point, Christian Folin skated along the boards until he was below the left circle. From there he backhanded a pass across the crease to Parise, who redirected the puck into the Dallas net.
Less than two minutes later, Koivu gave the Wild a 2-1 lead.
Off a Dallas turnover, he controlled the puck in the left circle and his bad-angle shot from below the circle eluded Jhonas Enroth. It was Koivu’s second goal in three games.
“We asked the guys to invest in the game knowing that they played back-to-back games, making sure that their D went back over and over again, making them go retrieve pucks, making them play long shifts in their own zone. I felt that if we could continue to play with the right mindset it would pay dividends,” Yeo said.
Veilleux scored his first of the season midway through the period, fighting off a check in front to put home a rebound of a shot from Marco Scandella. Dumba scored on the power play at 13:25, and Granlund scored at 14:33.
Parise and Spezza scored 25 seconds apart late in the period.
“There’s no excuse,” Dallas captain Jamie Benn said. “We got a 1-0 lead after two periods and we come out in the third and you lay an egg and give up six goals, it’s embarrassing. We left our goalie hanging tonight.”
Spezza made it 1-0 Dallas with a power-play goal at 14:33 of the second. He took the puck from below the Wild goal line and skated up the right wall. Instead of passing, Spezza pivoted at the half boards and skated to the right dot, beating Dubnyk high on the glove side with a slap shot for his fourth goal in eight games.
It was the first goal allowed by the Wild while short-handed since the All-Star break, a streak of 32 straight penalty kills.
NOTES: The division rivals do not meet again. Minnesota won the season series 4-1-0. … It was Enroth’s second start since being acquired from Buffalo on Feb. 11. He allowed four goals in a 4-1 loss to Colorado on Feb. 14. … Wild D Jared Spurgeon missed his second straight game with an upper-body injury. He was hit in the face with a puck Wednesday. … Dallas plays at Winnipeg on Tuesday. Minnesota is home against Edmonton that night.
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