Wild thump Red Wings 7-1 as Jimmy Howard struggles again
DETROIT (AP) — Defenseman Matt Dumba had two goals and an assist and the Minnesota Wild beat the Detroit Red Wings 7-1 on Thursday night.
Kevin Fiala had a goal and two assists, Ryan Hartman and Ryan Donato and had a goal and an assist each and Jordan Greenway and Eric Staal also scored for Minnesota, which is battling for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference and has won four of its last five. Mikko Koivu had two assists and Alex Stalock made 25 saves.
“This is fun hockey to watch right now, because we’re rolling four lines every night and every one of them is chiming in,” Stalock said. “It doesn’t even matter who is coming off the bench, because everyone has it going.”
Anthony Mantha scored for Detroit, which owns the league’s worst record. The Red Wings have lost four straight in which they have been outscored 19-5.
“We didn’t show up for our goalies. We didn’t backcheck. We didn’t cover back doors,” Detroit’s Dylan Larkin said. “We just made it so easy on them to generate chance after chance. It’s extremely frustrating right now.”
Jimmy Howard stopped 12 shots before being replaced by Jonathan Bernier, who made seven saves. Howard is 0-18-2 since his last win on Oct. 29, has been pulled five times this season and has allowed nine goals on 33 shots in his last two games.
“I’d like to go and give him an effort where we don’t give up many chances and try to get his game back going,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “I think that there’s a responsibility of the team to do that. We didn’t start the game to help him.”
The Wild scored three goals in a 2:20 span of the first period to take a 3-0 lead.
Hartman opened the scoring with a backhand tip-in that finished off a three-way passing play, with Koivu and Donato, off the rush 7:52 into the game. Donato put in Hartman’s rebound 27 seconds later, and Dumba scored on a shot from the point with 9:48 left in the opening period.
“Sometimes the hardest thing is to get motivated against these teams, but these points are huge for us, and we kept it going from start to finish. The fourth line (Hartman, Donato and Koivu) is leading us right now,” Fiala said. “We know the playoffs are right there, but we can’t take any game for granted. We need to keep pushing.”
Mantha got his 14th goal, on a breakaway, 7:33 into the second period but Dumba’s power-play goal restored Minnesota’s three-goal lead with 9:30 left in the middle period. Greenway scored 2:35 later, which sent Howard to the bench in favor of Bernier. Fiala added his 18th goal with 1:44 remaining in the second.
Staal scored his 19th goal midway through the third.
NOTES: C Victor Rask was a healthy scratch for Minnesota. … C Sam Gagner made his debut with Detroit after being acquired from the Edmonton Oilers on Monday. … Red Wings D Filip Hronek returned after missing four games with a head injury.
Wild: Visit Columbus on Friday.
Red Wings: At Ottawa on Saturday.