EditorsNote: Updates: 1. Corrects Driedger’s saves total
Rookie defenseman Carson Soucy scored the go-ahead goal and Kaapo Kahkonen won a battle between newcomer goalies as the Minnesota Wild defeated the host Florida Panthers 4-2 on Tuesday night.
Minnesota, which overcame a 2-0 second-period deficit to win its fourth straight game, also got goals from Jason Zucker, Mats Zuccarello and Luke Kunin (empty-netter). Zucker also had an assist, and Zuccarello has 24 points in 22 career games against the Panthers.
It was the second career goal for Soucy, who gave Minnesota a 3-2 lead with 15:11 left in the third period.
Kahkonen, who is 2-0-0 in two NHL starts, made 44 saves as Minnesota improved to 9-2-3 in its past 14 games.
Panthers goalie Chris Driedger, who also made his second career start, had 22 saves. His record is 1-1-0.
Florida got goals from Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov. Huberdeau also had an assist.
The Panthers led 2-0 after a first period that they dominated with a 13-5 shots-on-goal advantage.
Florida opened the scoring with 9:54 expired in the first period, snapping a 1-for-19 power-play slump. After a delay-of-game penalty on Minnesota’s Jordan Greenway for firing the puck over the glass, Barkov took a pass from Keith Yandle and let loose from the left circle. His shot went in just under the crossbar.
The Panthers made it 2-0 just 23 seconds after killing off Frank Vatrano’s tripping penalty. Once out of the box, Vatrano and Panthers teammate Vincent Trocheck forced a turnover along the back boards. Vatrano then fed the puck to Huberdeau, who cashed in with a shot just under the crossbar, nearly identical to Barkov’s goal.
Minnesota tied the score 2-2 on consecutive shots in the second period.
Zucker got the Wild on the scoreboard by stealing the puck from Mike Hoffman and then scoring at full speed with a brilliant forehand-to-backhand move 9:26 into the second.
With 12:56 expired, Zuccarello hustled after the puck at the right circle before unleashing a high shot to the short side, lifting the puck over Driedger’s glove.
Minnesota took a 3-2 lead when Soucy gloved down a pass from Zach Parise and then batted a backhander through the five-hole.
Kunin’s empty-netter with 61 seconds left crushed Florida’s comeback hopes.
—Field Level Media