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(Friday, November 15th)
Final Score: Minnesota 3, Florida 2
St. Paul, MN (SportsNetwork.com) - Charlie Coyle broke a tie in the third period and the Minnesota Wild fended off the Florida Panthers, 3-2, at Xcel Energy Center.
A 2-0 Minnesota lead evaporated in the third on goals by Tomas Kopecky and Jonathan Huberdeau, the latter coming at the 8:59 mark.
Coyle, however, put the Wild back in front less than four minutes later. Mikko Koivu sent a pass from the behind the Florida net out front to Coyle and he beat Tim Thomas from just outside the crease at 11:38.
"I just tried to get myself in position for a scoring chance and (Koivu) put (the puck) right on my stick and it found a way home," Coyle said.
Zach Parise and Jason Pominville both scored in the first period for Minnesota, which has won five straight home games. The Wild are also 9-1-1 since a shootout loss to the Panthers in Florida on Oct. 19.
Koivu had two assists and Josh Harding made 22 saves.
Thomas stopped 17 shots for the Panthers, who have lost nine straight road games since opening the season with a win at Dallas. Florida ended an 0-5-4 slide Tuesday against Anaheim.
Kopecky potted a feed from Jesse Winchester 3:31 into the third, then Huberdeau jumped on a puck in the slot and ripped a shot high over Harding.
"We need to learn how to play 60 minutes because that's what kills us," Huberdeau said. "We're always down."
The Wild opened the scoring on a power play as Parise, stationed to Thomas' right, directed in Koivu's diagonal feed from the top of the right circle at the 4:59 mark.
Pominville doubled the advantage off another stellar pass. Nino Niederreiter straddled the Florida blue line to stay onside and made a drop pass to defenseman Jared Spurgeon, who joined the rush. Spurgeon then sent the puck cross-ice to Pominville and he flicked it over Thomas from the right side with 6:22 remaining.
Jesse Winchester returned to the lineup after serving a three-game suspension for elbowing ... Florida began a five-game road trip ... The Panthers have only one win in seven games all-time against the Wild in Minnesota.
11/16 00:27:44 ET
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