OTTAWA – The Minnesota Wild didn’t take long to rebound from an ugly loss.
Captain Mikko Koivu had a goal and two assists to lead the Wild to a 4-3 win over the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday.
Koivu scored the winning goal with less than three minutes to play, allowing the Wild to rebound from the disappointment of Tuesday’s 6-2 loss at Montreal.
Former Senator Dany Heatley had a goal and an assist for the Wild (14-5-4) as did Jonas Brodin. Jason Pominville had the other Minnesota goal while Zach Parise had two assists.
“I felt good going into this game and I felt confident that we were going to play really hard because of our leadership and because of the way we’ve responded in the past,” Wild coach Mike Yeo said.
“I’ve got a lot of confidence in that leadership but the one thing I was worried about was our legs after three games in four days. I thought it was a factor in the first period but I thought our guys were able to find another gear.”
Milan Michalek scored on the power play as the teams approached the midway point of the third period to pull Ottawa even with the Wild, and it looked as if that goal would at least get the Senators to overtime.
“It’s disappointing. We got the game tied up, but again, we’re chasing the game. Any time you’re chasing the game, it makes the game hard,” Senators coach Paul MacLean said.
Kyle Turris and Mika Zibanejad also scored for the Senators (8-10-4), who have lost three straight games and four of their past five.
“It’s very disappointing, it’s frustrating. We came out and had our best first period of the year. We played a pretty solid game but again, there’s one or two mistakes that we let happen and they capitalized on,” Turris said.
A pair of goals in the second period allowed the Wild to take a 3-2 lead into the third, and Heatley played a part in both.
He drew a primary assist on Brodin’s goal that tied the game 2-2 exactly three minutes into the period and then jammed in a loose puck while behind the net at 6:05.
Heatley pushed a loose puck to the front of the net and then beat Senators defenceman Erik Karlsson to the puck before banking it off goaltender Craig Anderson’s right pad and in, all while standing behind the goal-line.
“Whether we’re in Ottawa or not we’re worried about our team and (Tuesday) night wasn’t acceptable and I think everyone thought that way. We needed to come back with a big win and we did,” said Heatley, who had a sour parting of the ways after four season in the Senators’ organization.
The Wild had the only power play of the first period but it proved to be fruitful for both sides while Jared Cowen sat in the penalty box for interference.
The Senators opened the scoring with a short-handed goal on a nifty pass from Clarke MacArthur to Turris. With his stick between his legs, MacArthur fed Turris in the slot and his one-timer slowly trickled across the goal-line at 5:54.
But just 59 seconds later Pominville took a pass at the corner of the face-off circle and beat Anderson with a quick shot inside the near post.
Pominville, who leads the Wild with 13 goals, skated in the warm-up but was listed as a scratch on the starting line up before eventually suiting up.
Zibanejad gave the Senators the lead at 11:11 but the celebration was short-lived.
The Senators outshot the Wild 37-25, making it just the sixth time the season they have outshot their opposition. It was also just the sixth time in 22 games they have allowed fewer than 30 shots.
“On a positive side of it, we look at the stat sheet and the balance (shots on goal) is starting to go the other way. So that’s a positive for us. We only gave up 25 shots on our net. The scoring chances are unofficially in our favour, we gave up a lot less,” MacLean said.
“Are we going in the right direction? We believe so, but we won’t know until our next game.”
Notes: The Senators played their 800th home game in franchise history, and 676th at the building currently named the Canadian Tire Centre … The Senators have lost only 15 man-games to injury all season. The Wild have lost 62 … The Wild recalled forward Jason Zucker from the Iowa Wild of the American Hockey League. Zucker had four goals and eight points in 12 games with Iowa this season … Minnesota has allowed a league-low 23 five-on-five goals this season … Matt Kassian, Eric Gryba and Joe Corvo were scratches for the Senators while Torrey Mitchell and Mike Rupp didn’t dress for the Wild.