ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Mikael Granlund helped the Minnesota Wild get a big win over a division foe.
He scored the tiebreaking goal in the second period and the Wild beat the Dallas Stars 4-2 on Wednesday night.
Jared Spurgeon, Eric Staal and Jason Zucker also scored for Minnesota, which won for just the second time in six games. Charlie Coyle had two assists and Alex Stalock made 24 saves.
Leading by one until Zucker’s empty-net goal in the final minute, Minnesota limited Dallas to six shots in the final 20 minutes.
“I think it’s huge against a team like that, a team that was ahead of us in the standings, a big game anytime you’re playing against a division opponent and keeping it a two-point game instead of a three-point game is obviously a lot better,” Stalock said.
Minnesota entered the game having allowed 50 third-period goals, second-most in the league.
“Well, I think the players also know that it’s been a chore. They were mad at that. … I thought we had probably our best third period in a while,” said coach Bruce Boudreau.
Spurgeon said the Wild are learning to simply stay the course.
“I think in the past sometimes we sit back and try to defend. Today, we were going at them,” he said.
Tyler Seguin and Mattias Janmark scored for the Stars, now two points up on Minnesota for fourth place in the tight Central Division.
“This is a divisional team so it’s a huge two points,” said center Martin Hanzal. “We weren’t ready and we weren’t good enough in the first and pretty much the whole game.”
With the Wild on the power play and the game tied 2-2, Granlund charged in from the left wall to put home a rebound after a redirect from Zucker was stopped by Ben Bishop at 13:08 of the second period.
“Hopefully we can play with the lead a little bit more here. It’s more fun,” said Granlund, who had a career-high 26 goals last year, has eight this season and only one in his previous 11 games.
It marked just the fourth time in 12 games Minnesota scored more than two goals.
Seguin’s fourth goal in three games – a redirect of an Esa Lindell shot – gave the Stars a 1-0 lead midway through the first period, but Spurgeon tied the game by tapping in a cross-crease feed from Coyle with 40.4 seconds left in the frame.
Dallas lost for just the fifth time in 21 games when scoring first.
“We had a lot of momentum when we took the break, and obviously, with the show tonight, we’ve lost the momentum,” said Dallas coach Ken Hitchcock, whose team was 4-1-2 in its previous seven games.
Staal scored 5:12 into the second before Janmark scored on the power play.
Wednesday was a step forward for a pair of previously injured Wild players.
Goaltender Devan Dubnyk served as the team’s backup after missing six games with a lower body injury and left wing Zach Parise said after the team’s morning skate he is going to AHL Iowa for a rehab assignment, although the team has not officially announced the move. The plan is for Parise, who had back surgery Oct. 24, to play Thursday in Iowa, return to Minnesota and decide the next step.
NOTES: Minnesota is 6-0-2 against Dallas since Jan. 9, 2016. . Jamie Benn assisted on Janmark’s goal to pass Sergei Zubov for second place in Dallas history with 550 career points. Mike Modano had 1,050. … Wild RW Nino Niederreiter missed his second game with a foot/ankle injury. … Boudreau coached his 800th career game. He is 477-232-91 in 11 NHL seasons, including stints with Washington and Anaheim. … To make room for Dubnyk, Minnesota reassigned G Steve Michalek to Iowa.
Stars: open a six-game homestand Friday vs. St. Louis.
Wild: welcomes Nashville Friday before playing Saturday in Music City.