Zach Parise breaks tie, Wild edge Maple Leafs 4-3
Parise broke a tie off a turnover early in the third period and the Wild rallied to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3 on Thursday.
“It’s been some tough sledding for us,” Parise said. “We played a pretty solid game.”
Auston Matthews lost the puck to Parise, who beat goalie Michael Hutchinson high over his glove at 4:21 for his 18th goal of the season. Minnesota overcame deficits of 2-0 and 3-2.
“We kept pushing even when they got the 3-2 (lead),” said Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk, who was just named to his third all-star game. “We just stuck with it.”
Toronto got a power play midway through the period, with Matthews hitting the post short side on Dubnyk. The Leafs pulled Hutchinson with 2:45 left, but were unable to get anything past the Wild netminder, including a chance that dribbled off the post in the dying seconds.
“You’ve got to learn how to win all kinds of games,” Leafs coach Mike Babcock said. “They’re a veteran team, they make it hard on you. We scored twice in the first period … I didn’t like our first period. They were better than us. After that I liked our game a lot.”
Mitch Marner scored twice and William Nylander had the other goal for Toronto, which lost its second straight. John Tavares added two assists for the Leafs, and Hutchinson made 30 saves in his debut in an emergency recall from the minors. Hutchinson has only been with the organization since Saturday following a trade with the Florida Panthers.
Marner staked the Leafs to an early lead when he snared a loose puck off the opening faceoff and fired a backhander off the post and in after just seven seconds to tie the Leafs’ franchise record for fastest goal at the start of a game. The 21-year-old winger made it 2-0 at 5:38 with his 15th goal of the season and ninth in the last eight games, scoring off a give-and-go with Tavares.
Coyle cut the deficit to 2-1 at 9:10 when he scored his seventh on a rebound and the Wild tied it at 5:09 of the second when Koivu swatted his sixth past a down-and-out Hutchinson.
Nylander responded with his first goal of the year when he beat Dubnyk upstairs at 8:16 to make it 3-2. The winger had just two points in his 11 previous games since his contract impasse with the Leafs ended on Dec. 1 with a six-year, $45 million deal.
Parise hit the crossbar moments later, but the Wild evened the score at 9:36 when Spurgeon put a shot through Hutchinson’s pads for his fifth goal of the season.
NOTES: Marner’s first goal tied Charlie Conacher’s team record set Feb. 6, 1932 against the Boston Bruins. … Hutchinson was 1-1-2 with an .839 save percentage and a 4.18 goals-against average in four games for the Panthers this season, but was a respectable 43-39-11 with a .910 save percentage and a 2.65 GAA in 102 games between 2013 and 2018 with Winnipeg. … Hutchinson and fellow netminder Kasimir Kaskisuo were recalled from the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League on an emergency basis with both No. 1 goalie Frederik Andersen (groin) and backup Garret Sparks (concussion protocol) out. Andersen is on injured reserve while Sparks, who took a shot up high in Wednesday’s practice after starting Toronto’s last three games, sat out for precautionary reasons. … Tavares and Matthews were named as Toronto’s All-Star representatives. … Scotiabank Arena had significantly more kids than usual for a matinee start that included a flashy opening ceremony with children dressed up as players, referees and announcers. There were even miniature versions of Leafs coach Mike Babcock and famed Hockey Night in Canada commentator Don Cherry.
Wild: At Ottawa on Saturday.
Maple Leafs: Host Vancouver on Saturday night.