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Minnesota at Florida

Koivu has five-point game as Wild beat up Panthers

CBSSports.com wire reports
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SUNRISE, Fla. -- Minnesota Wild coach Jacques Lemaire refused to say much about his scoring combination of Mikko Koivu and Antti Miettinen.

He wasn't about to jinx them.

"I don't want to talk about it," Lemaire said, "because I want them to keep playing this way."

Koivu had a goal and four assists and Miettinen scored twice on the power play to help the Wild stay unbeaten with a 6-2 victory over the Florida Panthers on Thursday.

Koivu's four assists tied a franchise record and gave him eight assists in three games. Miettinen added an assist and has five goals in three games, all wins for the Wild.

"They've jelled really well together, they know where they are on the ice and they make that quick pass," Lemaire said when asked again about Koivu and Miettinen. "It's fun to see that because it makes it a little easier for me."

Miettinen, a five-year veteran signed in the offseason as an unrestricted free agent, already is a third of the way toward matching his career high of 15 goals set last year as a member of the Dallas Stars.

He has exceeded his expectations with the fast start.

"You can always imagine," he said. "It's been going so far really well, over what I was thinking. It's good, you know."

Andrew Brunette, who plays left wing alongside Koivu and Miettinen, opened the scoring for Minnesota and had an assist.

The line combined for 10 points.

"Obviously it feels good, but I'm sure there's going to be games where it's not going to go in, said Koivu, a four-year veteran whose career high is 34 assists. We're just going to enjoy it when it's happening, though."

Kim Johnsson and Benoit Pouliot had the other goals for the Wild.

It's the third consecutive season Minnesota has started off with three consecutive victories. The Wild started 5-0 last season and 6-0 in 2006-07.

Nick Boynton and Karlis Skrastins scored for Florida (1-2).

"I would say we gave it away, but I don't think that we made them earn everything they got," Florida center Stephen Weiss said. "I think that a few of the goals that they got probably could have been avoided, but at the same time that's how it goes."

Nicklas Backstrom made 24 saves for Minnesota. He improved to 10-0-4 with one no-decision in his last 15 starts.

Florida's Tomas Vokoun allowed four goals on 22 shots in the first two periods before being replaced by Craig Anderson.

"He's not the reason we lost tonight," Florida coach Peter DeBoer said. "There was a lot of different reasons, but I think everybody from our goalie out has to be better and they know that."

Minnesota has won the last seven meetings between the teams.

Miettinen, the first player to score in his first two games in a Minnesota uniform, made it three straight at 13:29 of the second period with a power-play goal that increased the Wild s lead to 3-1.

Miettinen's second goal also came on the power play and off another pass from Koivu. Miettinen tipped in Koivu's pass across the goal mouth to make it 5-2 at 6:21 of the third period.

Koivu scored his first of the season on another power play at 16:00.

Minnesota finished 3-for-6 on the power play while killing all four its penalties.

Pouliot took advantage of Boynton's over aggressiveness to make it 4-2.

As Pouliot was getting away from defenseman Keith Ballard at the blue line, Boynton moved up to deliver a big check but barely hit Pouliot. Pouliot then skated in alone on Vokoun and beat him with a wrist shot to the short side.

"I thought he would fall, then I thought he would fall, he fell, then he got up and I thought he would fall again, then the puck is in the net," Lemaire said. "I haven't seen that in my (play)book yet, or any book."

That goal capped a wide-open second period that saw the teams combine for five goals.

Johnsson made it 2-0 at 2:58 when his wrist shot from the point went off the skate of Ballard. Boynton made it 2-1 by tipping in Ballard's shot from the top of the faceoff circle.

After Miettinen made it 3-1, Skrastins beat Backstrom with a slap shot from the point.

"We weren't that good at all," Ballard said. "We kind of hung around for a bit, but you can't really fake it in this game. They're a good team. We gave them opportunities, then we just kind of folded in the third. We were terrible."

Notes

  • Skrastins made his season debut and played in his 600th NHL game after missing Florida s first two games because of a neck injury.
  • To make room on the roster for Skrastins, the Panthers put D Bryan McCabe on the injured list. He has been out since sustaining a back injury in Florida's opener at Carolina on Oct. 10.
  • Florida was penalized twice in the third period for having too many men on the ice.
  • Backstrom's last loss in regulation came March 4, 2008, against Chicago (4-2).
  • The game matched the youngest (DeBoer, 40) and oldest (Lemaire, 63) coaches in the NHL.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Mikko Koivu has four assists to tie a franchise record for Minnesota. (Getty Images)
Mikko Koivu has four assists to tie a franchise record for Minnesota. (Getty Images)
Related Links
 
Scoreboard
Minnesota  (3-0-0) «1326
Florida (1-2-0)0202
Three Stars
M. Koivu
MIN


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 4
A. Miettinen
MIN


Goals: 2
Assist(s): 1
K. Skrastins
FLA


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0

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Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
11:50Andrew Brunette (2), Slap Shot. Assist: Koivu, Miettinen
2ND PERIOD
02:58Kim Johnsson (1), Slap Shot. Assist: Pouliot, Boogaard
04:15Nick Boynton (1), Tip-In. Assist: Ballard, Horton
13:29Power Play - Antti Miettinen (4), Wrist Shot. Assist: Koivu, Mojzis
14:42Karlis Skrastins (1), Slap Shot. Assist: Murphy, Weiss
15:58Benoit Pouliot (1), Wrist Shot. Assist: Koivu
3RD PERIOD
06:21Power Play - Antti Miettinen (5), Wrist Shot. Assist: Koivu, Bergeron
16:00Power Play - Mikko Koivu (1), Snap Shot. Assist: Johnsson, Brunette
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
07:26Campbell, 2 min, Roughing
07:26Boogaard, 4 min, Roughing
07:26Reitz, 2 min, Kneeing
07:26Boynton, 2 min, Roughing
14:06Boogaard, 5 min, Fighting
14:06Belak, 5 min, Fighting
2ND PERIOD
11:52Ballard, 2 min, Holding
15:58Horton, 2 min, Roughing
18:12Veilleux, 2 min, Hooking
19:20Burns, 2 min, High-Sticking
3RD PERIOD
02:12Skoula, 2 min, Hooking
04:21Dvorak, 2 min, Bench - Too Many Men on the Ice
06:03Skrastins, 2 min, Hooking
07:04Dvorak, 2 min, Bench - Too Many Men on the Ice
14:41Ballard, 2 min, Slashing
Shots On Goal
 123T
Minnesota5171234
Florida89926
Goalies
GoalieMINSSGA
Niklas Backstrom59:47242
Craig Anderson20:00102
Tomas Vokoun39:50184
Power Play Conversions
Power Play
Minnesota3-for-6
Florida0-for-0
Game Information
Attendance - 12106
Referees - Paul Devorski, Ian Walsh
Linesmen - Brad Kovachik, Mark Shewchyk
 
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