SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — Jason Zucker scored two goals to lead the Minnesota Wild over the Florida Panthers 4-1 on Monday night.
Nino Niederreiter also scored for the Wild, and Mikko Koivu had two assists. Zach Parise added an empty-net goal with 1:29 left.
Niklas Backstrom stopped 29 shots to help the Wild win for the fifth time in six games.
Shawn Thornton scored for the Panthers, and Roberto Luongo made 35 saves.
The Wild stretched their lead to 3-1 on Zucker’s second goal with 2:41 left in the second period. Zucker moved the puck in front and backhanded it off the post and into the net for his second multigoal game of the season.
Florida closed to 2-1 on Thornton’s goal at 5:34 of the second. Thornton redirected a shot by Dmitry Kulikov past Backstrom. Referee Ghislain Hebert initially ruled it no goal because of a high stick, but the goal was awarded after a video review. It was Thornton’s first of the season and first with the Panthers.
Minnesota took a 2-0 lead in the first period and outshot the Panthers 13-5.
Zucker’s first goal put the Wild ahead on their second shot of the game. Zucker took a pass from Koivu in the right circle, and his soft slap shot got under Luongo’s pads at 5:58.
The Wild went up 2-0 when Niederreiter grabbed a loose puck in the neutral zone and put the puck high into the net with 2:17 left in the first. Niederreiter leads the Wild with 10 goals and has six in his past six games.
NOTES: The Wild have won four of five and 11 of their last 14 against the Panthers, taking six of the past eight played in Florida. … Niederreiter has nine goals and three assists in the past 15 games. … Panthers forward Sean Bergenheim returned to the lineup after missing 10 games with a lower-body injury.
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