Wild beat Red Wings to end losing streak

Sarah McLellan, Star Tribune (Minneapolis) on

Published in Hockey

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Maybe it was the fight by rookie Nick Seeler, a heavyweight-style slugfest that was a throwback to when tussles like this crowded highlight reels as much as goals.

Or perhaps the finish by center Eric Staal did the trick, since the team's best delivery man picked an opportune time to capitalize.

Either way, the Wild were ignited -- as if their batteries had just been replaced -- and the change sparked them to a 4-1 win over the Red Wings Sunday in front of 19,037 at Xcel Energy Center to extinguish the team's two-game losing skid.

It also flipped the Wild back into the third spot in the Central Division, as the team dropped to the first wild-card slot during its slide.

A roughly three-and-a-half-minute stretch in the second period prevented that rough patch from continuing, as the Wild overcame a sleepy start and a deficit to hold off a Detroit team that was much tougher competition than its station in the standings (25th in the NHL with 62 points) suggested it would be.

The turnaround started during a delayed Red Wings' penalty when Seeler and winger Luke Witkowski dropped their gloves and traded blows that could have fit in a boxing match. Instead, they landed each in the penalty box for five minutes, with Seeler reporting there with blood on his forehead.

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Down by one, the Wild finally found the equalizer on the ensuing power play when Staal deflected in a Jared Spurgeon throw toward the net 7 minutes, 22 seconds into the second.

It was Staal's eight goal in his last seven games and his 34th on the season, which is tied for the fourth-most in the NHL; 34 is also the most Staal has scored in a season since he buried 40 in 2008-09.

The goal also moved Staal into a tie for the third-most goals in a single season by a Wild player.

Only 2:53 later, and on the Wild's very next shot, the team moved ahead of Detroit when winger Zach Parise's one-timer off a feed from captain Mikko Koivu snuck by goalie Jimmy Howard.


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