Minnesota shuts out PhiladelphiaJason Pominville and Charlie Coyle scored 57 seconds apart early in the third period to break open a defensive standoff and lift the Minnesota Wild to a 2-0 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday night.
The teams had combined for only 28 shots when Pominville collected Mikko Koivu’s pass in the crease and pushed it past a helpless Ray Emery 3:52 into the third period.
On the ensuing shift, Coyle tapped a rebound off Jared Spurgeon’s slap shot into an empty corner at 4:49.
It was an impressive and unexpected flurry in a game that played out as the statistics predicted. When the puck dropped, the Wild’s 17 even-strength goals allowed in 21 games led the National Hockey League; and the Flyers had allowed two or fewer goals in 10 of their past 14 games.
Plus, the Wild had scored only six goals in their five previous games (1-3-1). But Minnesota controlled most of the action, even if its chances were minimal, to improve to 11-3-2 at home.
Goaltender Josh Harding improved to 11-1-0 at Xcel Energy Center this season and 32-10-2 all-time. He stopped 21 shots to earn his third shutout of the season, robbing Jakub Voracek on a third-period power play, moving from corner to corner with a dive to stop a point-blank shot with his stick.
Voracek knows he had a chance to get his team back in the game.
“It was a great save by Harding, but if I score there, it could be a different game,” he said. “There’s no reason for me not to score from there.”
The Flyers were trying to crack .500 for the first time this season after rebounding from a 1-7-0 start. They are 11-6-2 since a 4-1 victory over the New York Rangers on Oct. 24, but fell to 1-10-1 this season when the opponent scores first.
The Wild’s best rush didn’t come until 11:06 into the second period, when Zach Parise started a 2-on-1 with Koivu. Parise drew Emery to the right corner, but instead of passing tried to go five-hole, and was turned away at 8:45 on the Wild’s 13th shot of the game.
At that point, the Flyers had only six shots on goal. Coach Craig Berube pulled Emery with 3:22 left in regulation but the man advantage netted the Flyers only two shots. AP