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Minnesota goes wild in 6-2 win over Pittsburgh

ST. PAUL -- A November slip in the standings for the Minnesota Wild was largely the result of a varied and efficient offense suddenly unable to score with consistency. Minnesota's league-leading defense was at least keeping it in tight games.

Nov 25, 2016; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Minnesota Wild forward Zach Parise (11) shoots and scores a goal in front of Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang (58) and forward Carl Hagelin (62) during the second period at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 25, 2016; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Minnesota Wild forward Zach Parise (11) shoots and scores a goal in front of Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang (58) and forward Carl Hagelin (62) during the second period at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

ST. PAUL - A November slip in the standings for the Minnesota Wild was largely the result of a varied and efficient offense suddenly unable to score with consistency. Minnesota's league-leading defense was at least keeping it in tight games.

Surprisingly, two games against the defending Stanley Cup champions were the ones to awaken the Wild's slumbering scoring.

Charlie Coyle and Nino Niederreiter each scored twice and Zach Parise added his second goal in as many games as Minnesota broke out of its offensive slump with a 6-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday.

"It was definitely different," Coyle said. "It's fun to play like that, but we were playing our game. We were doing the little things, and those things lead to goals like that. Like Zach said, we got a few power-play goals instead of coming off and kind of feeling, 'Dah! You didn't score on the power play.'"

The Wild had scored 17 goals in their 10 previous games. One of those was a four-goal burst at Pittsburgh on Nov. 10 when Minnesota took a season-high 44 shots. The Wild's only two November games scoring more than three goals were both against the Penguins.

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"Nice to score more than two goals or three goals; that's a great win for us," Minnesota coach Bruce Boudreau said.

Mikael Granlund also scored for the Wild (11-7-2), who have won back-to-back games for the first time since Oct. 27 and 29. Devan Dubnyk made 34 saves in goal.

Penguins forward Phil Kessel scored his sixth goal of the season and Bryan Rust added his third for Pittsburgh (12-6-3), which has one win in its past three games. Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 30 for the Penguins.

"I thought we put him in a tough spot," Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said of Fleury. "The goals they got, they're Grade A scoring chances. The types of saves he had to make were high quality. So I thought we put him in a tough spot in a lot of the circumstances."

Minnesota tied a season high with six goals, its most since the third game of the season at home against Los Angeles.

Coyle scored just 40 seconds in as Minnesota pressured Fleury, who fell to 2-7-0 in his career against the Wild. Fleury has allowed 30 goals in the nine games.

"It's just frustrating giving up so many goals," Fleury said. "There's a few I should have stopped. It's frustrating."

Niederreiter's first goal was originally credited to Jonas Brodin. Brodin's point shot was tipped in front by Niederreiter, who is tied with Coyle for the team lead with seven goals this season.

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The Wild logged two power-play goals for the first time this season when Parise scored in the second period. Minnesota has six power-play goals in the last four games, its longest streak of the season.

"We're shooting ... shooting the puck," Boudreau said. "And John works very hard at that, (assistant coach) John Anderson. I keep telling him, just keep pounding it in them, pounding it in them to shoot it. And he does, he shows it every day, and when you shoot pucks, good things happen."

Kessel solved Dubnyk with a quick shot after a cross-ice pass from Evgeni Malkin, but Coyle answered back with his second goal of the game and the team's third in the first period with just 22 seconds left.

"I don't think we were ready to play," Pittsburgh defenseman Brian Dumoulin said. "They came out hard at us. They chipped pucks in and got it deep and established a forecheck. I think the key to our team is coming out of the zone quickly and we didn't do that in the first period."

Nov 25, 2016; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Minnesota Wild defenseman Christian Folin (5) hits Pittsburgh Penguins forward Jake Guentzel (59) during the first period at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 25, 2016; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Minnesota Wild defenseman Christian Folin (5) hits Pittsburgh Penguins forward Jake Guentzel (59) during the first period at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Related Topics: MINNESOTA WILDHOCKEY
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