The Minnesota Wild have consistently outplayed their opponent in losses this season.
Thursday, the team flipped the script and beat the Carolina Hurricanes 3-1 at the Xcel Energy Center, despite not playing their best game.
The Wild (5-3-3) were thoroughly outplayed in the second period and
"They played us really well," Zach Parise said. "They were in our face in the neutral zone the whole game. They made it tough on us.
"On top of that we didn't have our best game. At the end of the day, we've lost some that we deserved to win. Now it is nice to be on the other side of one we didn't play our best, but we did win the game."
Parise scored the game-winning goal at the 11:55 mark of the opening period by batting the puck out of the air and off a Hurricanes defender into the net on a rebound off a shot by Jared Spurgeon. Spurgeon's shot rang off the cross bar and caromed toward Parise.
"I don't want to take all the credit," Parise said about knocking the puck into the net out of the air. "Actually, (Eric) Staal knocked it in. I got it on the way out. If it wouldn't have hit him, it wouldn't have gone in.
"Sometimes you need those ones. There are some times you have all those good chances that don't go in. A cheesy one like that are nice to get."
The Wild got the scoring started at the 8:21 mark of the first period when Nino Niederreiter took a no-look pass from Mikael Granlund and roofed a forehand shot from the top of the crease on the power play.
"I felt like we made eye contact right before he played it to me," Niederreiter said about the pass from Granlund. "He made a hell of a play and I was lucky to put it in."
Dany Heatley capped the scoring with his first goal of the season on the power play with less than 26 seconds remaining in the game. He took a pass from Matt Cooke just inside the blue line and fired a shot into an open net.
The Wild lost starting goaltender Josh Harding to a lower body injury during the second period. He finished the period, but did not return for the final stanza. The extent of his injury was not released. Niklas Backstrom came in to stop all seven shots he faced in relief.
The Hurricanes (4-3-3) announced that goaltender Cam Ward, who left the game less than five minutes in, will miss the next 3-4 weeks with a lower body injury. Former Wild goaltender Anton Khudobin, who began the season as Ward's backup, is already on injured reserve.
The Wild return to action Saturday against the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center.
No. 3 – Mikael Granlund. The Wild forward recorded an assist.
No. 2 – Nino Niederreiter. The Wild forward scored a goal.
No. 1 – Zach Parise. The Wild forward scored a goal.
Carolina……..0 1 0 – 1
Minnesota…..2 0 1 – 3
First Period – 1, Minnesota, Niederreiter 2 (Granlund, Dumba), 8:21 (pp). 2, Minnesota, Parise 5 (Spurgeon, Suter), 11:55. Penalties – Bellemore, CAR (roughing), 1:52 Semin, CAR (interference), 8:03; Scandella, MIN (holding), 16:44.
Second Period – 3, Carolina, Semin 3 (E. Staal, Sekera), 6:01 (pp). Penalties – Granlund, MIN (tripping), :27; Heatley, MIN (slashing), 4:02; Ruutu, CAR (delay of game-puck over glass), 7:22; Mitchell, MIN (boarding), 19:45.
Third Period – 1, Minnesota, Heatley 1 (Cooke, Prosser), 19:34 (pp-en). Penalties – Veilleux, MIN (cross checking), 5:01; E. Staal, CAR (tripping), 10:49; Dvorak, CAR (high sticking), 18:22.
Shots on goal – Carolina 9-12-7 28. Minnesota 10-6-11 27.
Goalies – Carolina, Ward (5-5), Peters (20-21). Minnesota, Harding (20-21), Backstrom (7-7). A – 17,668. Referees – Gord Dwyer, Mike Leggo. Linesmen – Scott Cherrey, Matt MacPherson.