Eric Staal notched a goal and an assist after Minnesota honored his 1,000-point NHL career Wednesday night, and the Wild earned a 4-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings in Saint Paul, Minn.
Staal produced the two-point night after the organization recognized the 35-year-old veteran in a pregame ceremony with his family. The Wild presented Staal with a crystal and golden hockey stick to celebrate his point total, which reached 1,012 — sixth highest among active NHL players.
Mats Zuccarello also contributed a goal and a helper, and Jordan Greenway and Jason Zucker found the net for the Wild, who won for the third time in four games and moved to within five points of a Western Conference wild-card position.
Matt Dumba added two assists, and Devan Dubnyk, who allowed 10 goals in his previous two starts, made 25 saves to win for the first time in three starts.
Detroit’s Filip Zadina scored two goals, and Trevor Daley assisted twice for the visitors, who lost their sixth straight overall (0-5-1) and dropped to an NHL-worst 4-19-2 on the road. Jimmy Howard posted 29 saves but slipped to 0-14-2 in his past 16 starts.
Playing without six injured regulars, the Red Wings used a fortunate bounce early in the first period. Zadina’s pass through the slot was redirected in by Minnesota’s Joel Eriksson Ek at 3:08.
Dumba and Greenway evened the score at 1 just 80 seconds later. The defenseman’s point shot struck Greenway, who backhanded in the rebound with his back to Howard for his sixth tally.
Detroit’s 29th-ranked power play cashed in late in the opening period for a 2-1 lead. Zadina’s shot from the right circle bounced into the crease, and defenseman Ryan Suter inadvertently kicked the puck in at 16:39 for Zadina’s eighth.
Zuccarello wristed a close shot off Howard’s chest in the second, and the puck popped skyward. Zuccarello batted in the puck before it hit the ice at 1:12 to tie the score at 2, his 13th goal of the campaign.
Zucker scored on a breakaway after getting sprung by an outlet pass from Victor Rask just 67 seconds later for the Wild’s first lead. It was Zucker’s 14th of the season.
Staal potted his 17th marker nine minutes later for the two-goal margin.
Detroit played the final four-plus minutes of the match with Howard off the ice for the extra skater.
Minnesota is off until hosting the Boston Bruins on Feb. 1. Detroit returns to action at the New York Rangers on Jan. 31.
—Field Level Media