Wild surge past Lee, Islanders 5-2 with 4-goal 3rd period
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Brandon Duhaime scored the go-ahead goal midway through the third period about two minutes after Ryan Hartman tied the game for Minnesota, and the Wild registered another comeback win to beat Anders Lee and the New York Islanders 5-2 on Sunday night.
“It’s stressful going into that third period, but at the same time we’ve done it so many times that it almost feels normal at this rate,” Duhaime said. “It just shows the resilience in the group.”
Duhaime, who was originally credited with a second period score that was officially changed to an assist on a goal for Nick Bjugstad, raced end to end and ripped a shot from the back of the left circle to give the Wild the lead.
Just before that, Hartman found his own rebound and sniped it past Semyon Varlamov for his team-high sixth goal. Hartman had the tying goal with 3 seconds left in regulation at Pittsburgh on Saturday night, when the Wild rallied for a 5-4 shootout victory.
“It can come from anyone in that locker room. We’ve got 12 forwards and six ‘D’ that can score at any time,” said the rookie Duhaime, who had his first multi-point game.
The Wild outshot the Islanders 16-2 in the third period. They’re 5-2 when the opponent scores first.
“We get two points, and that’s what our group cares about. They’re not worried about their individual stats,” coach Dean Evason said. “They’re just as happy as the other group, the other line, the other ‘D’ pair, whatever it may be on that given night. It’s nice to get a good team feel.”
Varlamov, making his first start of the season after working through an undisclosed injury, was kept busy by the Wild and their up-tempo style. He made 34 saves, before Jonas Brodin and Matt Dumba chipped in rink-length empty-netters.
“He was definitely up to the task. It was nice to see him back, doing his thing in net,” said Mathew Barzal, who assisted on both of Lee’s goals. “Obviously he’s a guy that everyone loves in the locker room, and he works extremely hard off the ice.”
Kaapo Kahkonen stopped 19 shots in his second start this season, relieving Cam Talbot, as the Wild improved to 4-1 at home.
Lee scored two goals in his home state to upstage the reunion for fellow Minnesotan Zach Parise, who was back at familiar Xcel Energy Center after joining the Islanders this summer.
Home has been a foreign concept to the Islanders so far, who are 10 games into this season-opening 13-game run of road games while their new UBS Arena is finished. They were 5-0-2 in their previous seven games.
“I think we’ve managed this pretty well, the rest, and they played last night too,” Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. “It has nothing to do with fatigue or anything like that. They had a push, and we didn’t weather their storm.”
Lee had a slap shot by Zdeno Chara deflect right to him with 18 seconds left in the first period for a rebound goal, the eighth straight game the Islanders scored first. His second one came midway through the second period for a 2-1 lead on a rush with Barzal.
Lee, who’s coming back from a torn ACL last season that robbed the Islanders of their captain for a run that ended in the Stanley Cup semifinals for a second straight year, scored in a 2-0 win at Winnipeg on Saturday night.
“You just want to come in here in front of your friends and family and get a win, but we came up short,” Lee said.
The Wild played a tribute video for Parise during a break in the first period with highlights on and off the ice from his nine seasons with the club, which bought out the last four years of his $98 million contract this summer. He waved briefly to the crowd, which gave him an extended ovation as players from both teams performed the ritual stick taps.
The game operations staff mischievously posted a message on the videoboard at a later stoppage of play urging fans to jeer anyone from Edina, the well-to-do suburb west of Minneapolis where Lee went to high school and Parise lived while he played for the Wild. Scratched Islanders forward Kieffer Bellows grew up there, too. Brock Nelson, from Warroad near the Canadian border, is the fourth Minnesotan on the roster.
Islanders: At New Jersey on Thursday night.
Wild: At Arizona on Wednesday night.
More AP NHL coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports.