NHL: Staal scores twice more for Wild in 6-2 romp over Carolina
ST. PAUL (AP) — Eric Staal’s second goal of the night for Minnesota capped a franchise-record flurry to start the second period, and the Wild cruised to a 6-2 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night.
Devan Dubnyk made 29 saves for his fifth win in his last six starts, and the Wild raised their home record to an NHL-leading 24-5-6.
Nino Niederreiter, Zach Parise, Daniel Winnik and Staal scored in a span of 3:28, the fastest four-goal stretch in Wild history that gave the home team a huge lead less than four minutes after the first intermission ended while fans were still filing back into their seats.
Winnik scored on his 33rd birthday, prompting Hurricanes coach Bill Peters to pull goalie Cam Ward for Scott Darling. Then, just 15 seconds later, on the first shot Darling faced, Staal broke free in the Carolina zone, faked right and dragged the puck left to poke a backhander in for his 36th goal of the season.
Staal, the second overall pick in the 2003 draft by the Hurricanes who spent 13 years with the club until a late-season trade, has 64 goals in 149 games with the Wild. That’s tied for ninth in the league over the last two years. He’s also tied for 17th with 132 points, and he’s older than every player ahead of him in that span.
With 15 games to go, Staal has a solid chance at the third 40-goal season of his career. He has scored 10 times in his last nine games. In seven games since Jason Zucker and Mikael Granlund joined Staal on the first line, the trio has combined for 16 goals and 19 assists.
Staal’s first score came 4:35 into the game on the power play after a tripping call on Victor Rask, adding to Carolina’s NHL-leading penalty total. Parise’s goal was also with the man advantage for the Wild, who entered the game ranked eighth in the league on the power play. The Hurricanes came in 22nd on the penalty kill.