Vanek, Koivu, Parise score in third, Wilds beat Flames 4-2
ST. PAUL, Minnesota (AP) — Thomas Vanek and Mikko Koivu scored early in a three-goal third period and the Minnesota Wild pulled away to beat the Calgary Flames 4-2 in the NHL on Friday.
Matt Dumba and Zach Parise also scored for Minnesota, which began the night three points behind Chicago for third place in the Central Division and one point up on Winnipeg for the top wild-card spot. The Wild have won four in row and six of seven.
Devan Dubnyk stopped 23 shots. He made his 33rd consecutive start since joining Minnesota and 34th overall, tying Antti Niemi for the most consecutive starts in the NHL since 2010-11.
Josh Jooris and Markus Granlund scored for Calgary. Making his fifth straight start, Karri Ramo stopped 31 shots before being pulled in the third period.
With the game tied at 1 in the third period, Justin Fontaine circled behind the Calgary net and lost the puck briefly. He quickly gathered it in the left circle and backhanded a pass across to Vanek alone at the edge of the crease. His second whack knocked the puck in at 3:36 for his seventh goal in 10 games.
Less than 4 minutes later, Koivu and Stewart perfectly executed a 2-on-1 entering the offensive zone with Stewart’s centering pass to Koivu tipped into the Calgary net.
Parise scored unassisted on a breakaway nearly 5 minutes later for his 30th goal of the season to make it 4-1. Granlund scored on a tip with 4:43 to play for the Flames.
The Flames were one point behind Los Angeles in the Pacific Division entering the game and three points behind Winnipeg for the second wild-card playoff spot. Calgary has played one more game than the Kings.
Cam Atkinson scored twice in Columbus’ four-goal first period and added an empty-net goal in the final minute for his second career hat trick to help the Blue Jackets win their fifth straight game, 5-2 over the Chicago Blackhawks.
Ryan Johansen and Kevin Connauton also connected for the Blue Jackets. They set a team record with their seventh consecutive road victory and have won eight of nine overall.
Brandon Saad and Jonathan Toews scored for Chicago, which dropped its second straight.
Columbus’ Sergei Bobrovsky made 31 saves.
Chicago goalie Corey Crawford was pulled with 3:14 left in the first period after allowing four goals on 13 shots. Scott Darling finished, and stopped all 13 shots he faced.
At Edmonton, Alberta, Richard Bachman made 29 saves for his second NHL shutout and the Edmonton Oilers beat the Dallas Stars 4-0.
Jordan Eberle, Derek Roy, Benoit Pouliot and Andrew Miller scored to help the Oilers win their second straight game.
Kari Lehtonen made 24 saves for the Stars, who had won four in a row.
Dallas remained eight points behind Winnipeg for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference, with just seven games left.