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(Thursday, March 13th)
Final Score: Minnesota 2, NY Rangers 1
St. Paul, MN (SportsNetwork.com) - Zach Parise's goal 1:03 into the third period provided the difference in the Minnesota Wild's 2-1 victory over the New York Rangers at XCel Energy Center.
Nino Niederreiter also scored to support a strong 29-save effort from Darcy Kuemper that helped the Wild halt an 0-1-2 skid. Sixteen of those stops came in the final period.
"Huge points tonight," said Kuemper. "Just the way we played, I think we got back to our identity."
Cam Talbot turned aside 24 shots in the loss, the fifth in seven games for the struggling Rangers, with Derek Stepan recording the lone New York goal.
A 1-1 deadlock after two periods didn't last long, as the Wild pressured the New York zone in the opening minute of the third and were quickly rewarded for the effort.
Parise intercepted a pass by the Rangers' Marc Staal before working the puck to Mikael Granlund, who fed a charging Jason Pominville for an in-close shot that Talbot blocked as well as two follow-ups. Parise raced in to knock home the fourth attempt, however, and send Minnesota in front.
"A really smart play by Granlund to attack the net and realize he had room," Parise said. "That's what started the play and at that point in the game, we needed to start getting pucks into the crease."
Kuemper made the lead stick by stoning the Rangers the rest of the way, withstanding a late barrage that included two chances in the final four seconds.
"We're not scoring a lot of goals 5-on-5," said Vigneault. "I thought our effort was better tonight, our execution was a little bit better, but we need to finish more and obviously that wasn't the case tonight."
Niederreiter accounted for the lone goal of the opening period, the result of another failed clearing attempt by the Rangers. Rick Nash sent the puck right to the Minnesota forward, who promptly fired a shot past Talbot while all alone in the slot with 6:52 to go in the session.
The Rangers drew even at 3:19 of the second period by capitalizing on a high- sticking penalty to the Wild's Kyle Brodziak. The 5-on-4 opportunity led to Stepan's 12th goal of the season, a left-circle wrister that found its way through with Chris Kreider screening Kuemper in front.
Parise registered his fifth game-winning tally of the season, while 10 of his 23 goals have come in the third period ... Stepan is one of two Minnesota natives on the Rangers' roster, along with fellow U.S. Olympian Ryan McDonagh ... The Wild improved to 26-4-4 when scoring first this season ... The Wild have allowed two goals or fewer in each of their last 12 wins.
03/14 00:45:03 ET
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