After a disappointing stretch of games in March that saw them win four of 13 games, the Wild have won three of four and earned a point in the standings in the loss.
“We’re playing well,” Zach Parise said. “That’s a very good team we just shutout. It’s never an easy thing when you are playing against (Sidney) Crosby — to keep him off the score sheet like we did.”
The Wild (40-26-12) started early and did not stop. Erik Haula, Mikko Koivu and Stephane Veilleux all scored at various parts of the first period.
“It’s nice to get that cushion,” Parise said. “But at the same time, what was best about that was that you’ve seen teams, and we’re guilty of it too, you get that early lead and you get cocky. You try to make fancy plays and the next thing you know you give one, you give up two. I thought tonight we stuck with playing a good defensive game. We never allowed them the chance to get back in.”
Haula skated around Robert Bortuzzo and chipped a pass from Matt Moulson over the shoulder of Jeff Zatkoff one minute and 42 seconds into the game.
Koivu extended the lead to two goals with a shot from the slot through a screen and Zatkoff at the 8:47.
The Wild took the three goal lead into the first intermission after Stephane Veilleux one-timed a pass from Cody McCormick off the glove of Zatkoff and into the net with five minutes and four seconds remaining.
McCormick recorded his first goal as a member of the Wild, second of the season, six minutes and 24 seconds into the second period when Parise sent him a pass from the corner.
The Penguins (49-24-5) had one good scoring chance and Ilya Bryzgalov took care of it by knocking James Neal’s shot away from the wide open net with his goal stick.
“When they did have (a chance), (Bryzgalov) made that big save on Neal and he made some other timely saves,” Parise said.
No. 3 - Cody McCormick. The Wild forward recorded a goal and an assist.
No. 2 - Ilya Bryzgalov. The Wild goaltender stopped 20 shots for the shutout.
No. 1 - Erik Haula. The Wild forward scored a goal.
Pittsburgh……0 0 0 - 0
Minnesota……3 1 0 - 4
First Period - 1, Minnesota, Haula 5 (Moulson, Pominville), 1:42. 2, Minnesota, Koivu 11 (Parise, Coyle), 8:47. 3, Minnesota, Veilleux 3 (McCormick), 14:56. Penalties - Stempniak, PIT (hooking), 5:30; Brodziak, MIN (hooking), 15:32.
Second Period - 4, Minnesota, McCormick 2 (Parise, Coyle), 6:24. Penalties - Bortuzzo, PIT (hooking), 19:41.
Third Period - None. Penalties - Veilleux, MIN (interference), 9:25.
Shots on goal - Pittsburgh 8-5-7 20. Minnesota 6-10-4 20.
Goalies - Pittsburgh, Zatkoff (16-20). Minnesota, Bryzgalov (20-20). Referees - Ghislain Hebert, Tom Kowal. Linesmen - Brian Mach, Andy McElman.