Staal helps Wild hand Pens first home loss
PITTSBURGH (AP) Eric Staal's third-period goal proved to be the game-winner as the Minnesota Wild defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-2 on Thursday night.
Staal had two assists, giving him 51 points in 50 career games against Pittsburgh. Charlie Coyle scored his fourth of the season on the power play, while Nino Niederreiter added his third and Jared Spurgeon his second into an empty net for the Wild, who won for the fourth time in six games.
Minnesota, playing its first game since a one-goal loss against Colorado on Saturday, defeated the Penguins for the first time in five games, including four straight in Pittsburgh.
Devan Dubnyk, who made 39 saves, allowed fewer than three goals for the eighth straight game, which includes a streak of three straight shutouts.
Sidney Crosby and Patric Hornqvist both scored power-play goals for Pittsburgh, which lost in regulation for the first time in eight games. It was Pittsburgh's first regulation home loss this season.
Crosby has nine goals and 11 points in eight games since returning from a concussion that sidelined him for the first six games of the season. Crosby opened the season with a six-game point streak. Phil Kessel had two assists for Pittsburgh, which allowed a season-high 43 shots.
Marc-Andre Fleury made his first start in a week on Thursday and stopped 40 shots. He backed up Matt Murray the previous two games.
Staal put Minnesota in front 3-2 early in the third period. Coyle put a shot on net following a Penguins' turnover behind the goal and Staal backhanded the rebound behind Fleury.
Crosby and Coyle scored power-play goals in the first period.
Pittsburgh scored its power-play goals against the top penalty killing unit, while Minnesota entered with five goals in its previous 34 chances with the man advantage.
NOTES: Kessel has a seven-game home point streak. Evgeni Malkin has a point in five straight home games for Pittsburgh . Wild F Erik Haula returned after missing seven games with a foot injury. . Minnesota F Zack Mitchell made his NHL debut. . The Wild placed D Marco Scandella on long-term injured reserve on Wednesday. . Minnesota F Zach Parise remains week-to-week with a lower-body injury suffered last month.
Pittsburgh: Completes a three-game home stand Saturday against Toronto.
Minnesota: Continues a stretch of three road games in four nights Saturday against Philadelphia.