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Minnesota sneaks past Hurricanes

Photo by James Guillory / USA TODAY Minnesota goalie Josh Harding, back, is congratulated by teammates after the Wild defeated Carolina on Saturday at PNC Center. The Wild topped the Hurricanes 3-2 in a shootout.

By David Droschak

The Sports Xchange

RALEIGH, N.C. — The Minnesota Wild is living off of confidence, the game’s hottest goalie and a ton of ice time from defenseman Ryan Suter.

Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu and Jason Pominville all scored in the shootout to chip in on the offensive side and Josh Harding improved to 9-2-2 in net as the Wild beat the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 on Saturday night to win in Raleigh for the first time in franchise history.

“What is growing is kind of a feeling inside the locker room that guys are playing for each other and battling for each other, and we’ve got each other’s back and that’s important,” Wild coach Mike Yeo said. “When you come to the rink every day and you’re playing for something bigger than yourself, that’s kind of what you want to grow.”

The Wild were 0-3-1 all time in Raleigh but won their first shootout in four tries this season. Parise scored his 33rd shootout goal of his career and Koivu added his 31st before Pominville sealed the win after Chris Terry scored for the Canes.

The Wild are off to their best start in franchise history with a 10-4-4 record and 24 points in 18 games but were 0-4 in overtime and 0-3 in shootouts before the victory.

“We haven’t had a lot of success in the overtime and shootouts so to finally get that extra point was big,” Yeo said. “On the bench we seemed to have the feeling that it was going to come to us. Getting a huge penalty kill at the end of the game you maybe start to think it is your night.”

Parise said goalie coach Bob Mason radioed down to the bench before the shootout to inform the veteran left wing that Peters was prone to biting on fake shots.

“I know I’m getting the call, so I don’t get too nervous anymore,” said Parise, who has 72 career shootout attempts. “I haven’t seen Peters much, so I wanted to sell it on the way in and I got him to slide the other way.”

The Hurricanes had won 2-1 in overtime to start their five-game homestand and Peters was coming off a 1-0 shutout, but he fell to 0-4 in his career in shootouts. Peters has stopped just three of 11 career attempts.

“We said this was going to be a good test for us and a battle for three periods and it was,” Carolina coach Kirk Muller said. “It was a chess match.”

Right winger Patrick Dwyer hit the post on a prime scoring opportunity with just over five minutes left in regulation that likely would have given the Canes the win, and the Canes failed to convert on a power play in the final 1:07 left in overtime with Mikael Granlund in the penalty box after being whistled for hooking.

Pominville, one of the NHL’s hottest players in the last three weeks, scored his team-leading 11th goal just 3:33 in when he got behind the Carolina defense on a breakaway and ripped a wrist shot over the glove of Peters.

The Hurricanes, having trouble scoring in the first period, tied the score less than two minutes later when a shot just inside the blue line by defenseman Ryan Murphy handcuffed Harding after the puck hit a stick of one of the Wild players and knuckled in on net.

Jiri Tlusty, part of Carolina’s slumping top line, gave the Canes a 2-1 lead 7:14 into the second period. The left wing was left alone in front of Harding and he beat the Wild goalie between the legs with a backhander.

The Canes didn’t have the lead for long as Justin Fontaine’s perfect tip in from the slot four minutes later and four seconds after a Wild power play expired tied the score 2-2.

Suter played 35 minutes and 28 seconds, two days after playing 36:51 in a shootout loss at Washington.

“We gave him a bit of a break, we only gave him 35 (minutes),” Yeo said. “It’s pretty amazing. It’s not ideal, we don’t want to play him 35 minutes every game, but his minutes start to creep up at the end with the game on the line because who do you want on the ice. If he’s showing he’s not tired and he can still perform at that level and when there are two points hanging out there, you want him on the ice.”

Meanwhile, Koivu’s score was the 13th game deciding goal of his career, evening the Wild’s road record at 3-3-2.