Wild nab road win

The Associated Press

NEW YORK–Minnesota knows it needs to play better on the road to strengthen its push for a playoff spot.
The Wild also want to do a better job of holding third-period leads than they have lately.
They accomplished both yesterday against the N.Y. Islanders.
Matt Cullen and Tyler Ennis scored in Minnesota’s three-goal second period as the Wild beat the Islanders 5-3.
Jason Zucker added two goals, Joel Eriksson Ek also scored, and Devan Dubnyk stopped 32 shots as Minnesota improved to 4-1-2 in its past seven games.
The Wild just lost three of five on their homestand, including twice when they gave up the tying goal in the third period before falling after regulation.
“Having the lead in the second and keeping it is really good for us,” Zucker said.
The win snapped Minnesota’s brief two-game skid (0-1-1) and got its three-game, five-day trip to New York off on a winning note.
The Wild, who have lost seven of their past 11 on the road, play back-to-back against New Jersey and the Rangers later in the week.
“Our record isn’t the way we want on the road this year, so we’ve been trying to focus on that,” Zucker noted.
“It’s a big win for us.”
Minnesota, which is fifth in the Central Division but holds the second wild card in the Western Conference, pulled one point behind Dallas and St. Louis.
Ross Johnston, Anders Lee, and Tanner Fritz scored for the Islanders while Jaroslav Halak finished with 27 stops.
New York began the day tied with idle Carolina with 64 points, but held the second wild-card spot in the East due to more regulation/overtime wins.
However, the Hurricanes now hold the tie-breaker due to a game in hand on the Islanders.
Zucker beat Halak on the blocker side with a one-timer for his second of the game and 25th of the season with 3:22 remaining to push the Wild’s lead to 5-3.
New York outshot Minnesota 17-9 in the third, including skating with a 6-on-4 advantage over the final 1:23 with Halak pulled on a power play, but couldn’t get anything past Dubnyk.
“We played a good game, we played hard,” Islanders’ coach Doug Weight said.
“But not good enough.”
Elsewhere in the NHL, Boston edged Calgary 2-1 (OT), Nashville beat Ottawa 5-2, L.A. downed Chicago 3-1, Washington nipped Buffalo 3-2, and Anaheim blanked Vegas 2-0.

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