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Minnesota Wild fall to injury-ravaged Red Wings

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The Minnesota Wild lost the front end of a home-and-home series with the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 Saturday at the Xcel Energy Center.

The Wild remain in the lead for the top wild card spot in the playoffs, but have struggled of late and need to start getting wins.

“We can’t keep letting these points go to waste,” Charlie Coyle said. “We have to come into every game and play a solid 60 minutes. We can’t take a shift off. We can’t take a period off. We can’t do any of that. It’s coming down to the wire here and we need to make the most of it.”

Coyle evened the game at 2-2 15 seconds into the third period with pretty backhand-to-forehand deke on Jimmy Howard on a penalty shot. Coyle had the puck roll on him as he got between the circles, but maintained control and had Howard sliding out of the crease as he tucked the puck into the wide open net.

“It almost threw me off,” Coyle said on the puck starting to roll away from him. “Maybe it threw him off.”

The game remained tied for just five minutes and four seconds. Gustav Nyquist scored the eventual game-winning goal with a shot off a rush that cleanly beat Darcy Kuemper and rang off the far post and into the net.

The Red Wings (33-24-13) held on in the final minutes as the Wild had several opportunities to tie the game, including a backhand attempt by Coyle from behind the net that got as close as the goal line.

The Wild (36-24-11) got on the board first when Mikko Koivu ripped a one-timer from the top of the circles over Howard’s glove on the power play.

The Red Wings were able to even the game nearly five minutes later on a power play tally by Brendan Smith on a bouncing backhand shot.

The Red Wings scored the only goal of the second on a power goal by David Legwand. He re-directed a pass from Riley Sheahan past Kuemper with three minutes and 38 seconds remaining in the period.

The Wild finish their home-and-home series with the Red Wings Sunday at Joe Louis Arena.

Three Stars

No. 3 - Riley Sheahan. The Red Wings forward recorded two assists.

No. 2 - Gustav Nyquist. The Red Wings forward scored a goal

No. 1 - Charlie Coyle. The Wild forward scored a goal.

Boxscore

Detroit……..…1 1 1 - 3

Minnesota……1 0 1 - 2

First Period - 1, Minnesota, Koivu 9 (Suter, Moulson), 5:38 (pp). 2, Detroit, Smith 4 (Legwand, Kindl) 10:34 (pp). Penalties - Quincey, DET (interference), 5:07; Tatar, DET (high sticking), 6:43; Prosser, MIN (roughing), 6:43; Suter, MIN (slashing), 10:26.

Second Period - 3, Detroit, Legwand 12 (Sheahan, Kindl), 17:24 (pp). Penalties - Tatar, DET (hooking), 4:57; Stoner, MIN (high sticking), 16:38.

Third Period - 4, Minnesota, Coyle 8 (penalty shot), :15. 5, Detroit, Nyquist 21 (Sheahan, Smith), 5:19. Penalties - Kronwall, DET (holding), 16:33.

Shots on goal - Detroit 9-8-13 30. Minnesota 11-8-11 30.

Goalies - Detroit, Howard (28-30). Minnesota, Kuemper (27-30). Referees - Steve Kozari, Dean Morton. Linesmen - Greg Devorski, Ryan Galloway.

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