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Panthers Fall To Wild (AP Story)

Thursday, 10.16.2008 / 10:32 PM ET / Recap
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Panthers Fall To Wild (AP Story)
Minnesota Wild goalkeeper Niklas Backstrom, right, makes a save in the third period during an NHL hockey game against the Florida Panthers in Sunrise, Fla. Thursday, Oct. 16, 2008. At center is Panthers right wing Nathan Horton (16). (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) -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 night.

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.

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 51 38 9 4 166 114 80
2 FLA 53 31 16 6 143 118 68
3 NYR 53 30 18 5 150 135 65
4 TBL 52 29 19 4 138 123 62
5 BOS 52 28 18 6 151 137 62
6 DET 53 27 18 8 133 131 62
7 PIT 52 27 18 7 138 132 61
8 NYI 51 27 18 6 143 127 60
9 NJD 54 26 21 7 120 122 59
10 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
11 MTL 54 26 24 4 143 143 56
12 OTT 54 25 23 6 153 166 56
13 PHI 51 23 19 9 121 133 55
14 BUF 53 21 26 6 120 139 48
15 TOR 51 19 23 9 117 140 47
16 CBJ 54 21 28 5 135 168 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 50 16 21 11 37
J. Huberdeau 53 10 27 9 37
A. Barkov 43 16 19 13 35
J. Jokinen 53 10 25 11 35
V. Trocheck 53 17 16 3 33
R. Smith 53 16 15 10 31
B. Pirri 49 10 13 -5 23
A. Ekblad 49 10 12 20 22
B. Campbell 53 4 16 16 20
N. Bjugstad 38 9 8 -4 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 23 13 5 .930 2.13
A. Montoya 8 3 1 .929 2.01

 
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