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Wild try to push win streak to 3 vs. streaking Pens

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Minnesota Wild will aim for their first three-game winning streak in a month when they visit the streaking Pittsburgh Penguins for Thursday's battle at CONSOL Energy Center.

The Wild have won two straight and both victories came via the shootout. Minnesota, which hasn't won three in a row since a four-game winning streak from Nov. 9-17, halted a two-game slide with Saturday's 2-1 decision at Colorado and then picked up a 3-2 home win Tuesday against Vancouver.

Minnesota headed into the third period of its last two games trailing on the scoreboard, but was able to get both games to overtime. The Wild were down 2-1 after 40 minutes on Tuesday before Charlie Coyle scored at 8:47 of the third period to even the score.

Jason Pominville then picked up the shootout winner to lift the Wild to the home victory. Pominville skated straight in, faked to his left and pulled back to his right before sneaking the disc just inside the post on Roberto Luongo's glove side.

Wild netminder Josh Harding stoned Ryan Kesler on the Canucks' last chance to seal the win.

"Our guys dug deep. Two games in a row, we're down after two periods, come back and battle back and get a win. It says a lot about our group," said Wild coach Mike Yeo.

Zach Parise also scored in regulation for Minnesota and Mikko Koivu had a pair of assists. Harding made 29 saves in the win.

Thursday's tilt marks the start of a four-game road trip for the Wild, who are 6-8-3 as the guest this season compared to a 14-3-2 mark on home ice. Minnesota also is scheduled to visit the New York Rangers, Philadelphia and Winnipeg during this swing.

The Penguins halted a four-game losing streak in the series against Minnesota with a 4-2 road win on Oct. 18, 2011. Despite Pittsburgh's win in the most recent meeting, the Wild have won six straight in the Steel City and are 6-1-0 on the road in this matchup.

Minnesota will bring a familiar face with it to Pittsburgh tonight, as forward Matt Cooke is set to return to the city he called home for the last five seasons before signing with the Wild over the summer. He has five goals and seven assists in 36 games for Minnesota this season.

The Penguins enter Thursday riding their second five-game winning streak in a matter of weeks. Pittsburgh, which also went 5-0 from Nov. 27-Dec. 5, has won 10 of its last 11 games to extend its lead atop the Metropolitan Division to 12 points over Washington.

Pittsburgh blew a lead late in regulation in Wednesday's road game against the New York Rangers, but Brandon Sutter netted the lone goal in the shootout, as the Penguins survived to take a 4-3 decision.

The Pens and Rangers were tied at 1-1 after two periods, but Pittsburgh scored two quick goals early in the third to grab a two-goal cushion. However, New York would send the game to overtime thanks to goals by Mats Zuccarello and Derick Brassard over the last seven-plus minutes of regulation. Brassard's power-play tally tied the game at 3-3 with 1:46 left.

Although New York had another power-play opportunity in the extra session, but couldn't convert. That allowed Sutter to eventually win the game in the fifth round of the shootout.

"Part of me was just waiting to get a chance, I felt good with the puck and wanted a shot," said Sutter. "It's always fun to get out there. That's only the third one I've ever had. I missed the first two so it feels good to get that one."

Sutter also scored in regulation, as did Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis for the Penguins. Marc-Andre Fleury made 29 stops and then held New York off the board in the deciding breakaway contest as Pittsburgh tied its season-high winning streak.

Pens forward Evgeni Malkin is expected to miss a third straight game on Thursday after sustaining a leg injury while sliding feet-first into the boards on Saturday against Detroit. Malkin is third in the NHL in points this season, posting 41 points off nine goals and a league-best 32 assists.

In addition to Malkin's injury, the Pens are currently without their top-four defenseman, as Kris Letang, Paul Martin, Brooks Orpik and Rob Scuderi are sidelined with various ailments.

However, forward James Neal will be available for the Penguins tonight after completing a five-game suspension for kneeing Boston's Brad Marchand in the head on Dec. 7. Neal has 10 goals and 10 assists in only 16 games for Pittsburgh this season.

Pittsburgh is kicking off a brief two-game homestand tonight and has won eight straight as the host. The Pens, who are 15-3-0 as the host this season, haven't lost in the Steel City since dropping a test to Philadelphia on Nov. 13.

12/19 11:17:26 ET

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Schedule

Friday, April 18Full Scoreboard
Montreal «4Final | Box
Tampa Bay1Rink Replay
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game Two. Montreal leads series, 2-0.
Detroit «1Final | Box
Boston0Rink Replay
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game One. Detroit leads series, 1-0.
Dallas2Final | Box
Anaheim «3Rink Replay
Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game Two. Anaheim leads series, 2-0.
Full Scoreboard

Standings

2013 - 2014 NHL Eastern Conference Standings
 
Atlantic Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
p-Boston 54 19 9 117 261 177 31-7-3 23-12-6 18-9-3
x-Tampa Bay 46 27 9 101 240 215 25-10-6 21-17-3 19-8-3
x-Montreal 46 28 8 100 215 204 23-13-5 23-15-3 18-8-4
x-Detroit 39 28 15 93 222 230 18-13-10 21-15-5 17-8-5
Ottawa 37 31 14 88 236 265 18-17-6 19-14-8 14-9-7
Toronto 38 36 8 84 231 256 24-16-1 14-20-7 14-13-3
Florida 29 45 8 66 196 268 16-20-5 13-25-3 13-16-1
Buffalo 21 51 10 52 157 248 13-21-7 8-30-3 7-18-5
 
Metropolitan Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
y-Pittsburgh 51 24 7 109 249 207 28-9-4 23-15-3 20-8-2
x-NY Rangers 45 31 6 96 218 193 20-17-4 25-14-2 16-11-3
x-Philadelphia 42 30 10 94 236 235 24-14-3 18-16-7 15-11-4
x-Columbus 43 32 7 93 231 216 22-15-4 21-17-3 16-13-1
Washington 38 30 14 90 235 240 21-13-7 17-17-7 12-15-3
New Jersey 35 29 18 88 197 208 21-11-9 14-18-9 16-9-5
Carolina 36 35 11 83 207 230 18-17-6 18-18-5 15-13-2
NY Islanders 34 37 11 79 225 267 13-19-9 21-18-2 10-16-4
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
z= clinched overall points title
2013 - 2014 NHL Western Conference Standings
 
Central Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
y-Colorado 52 22 8 112 250 220 26-11-4 26-11-4 19-6-3
x-St. Louis 52 23 7 111 248 191 28-9-4 24-14-3 21-6-2
x-Chicago 46 21 15 107 267 220 27-7-7 19-14-8 13-13-3
x-Minnesota 43 27 12 98 207 206 26-10-5 17-17-7 14-12-3
x-Dallas 40 31 11 91 235 228 23-11-7 17-20-4 13-11-5
Nashville 38 32 12 88 216 242 19-17-5 19-15-7 12-13-4
Winnipeg 37 35 10 84 227 237 18-17-6 19-18-4 9-15-5
 
Pacific Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
z-Anaheim 54 20 8 116 266 209 29-8-4 25-12-4 22-4-3
x-San Jose 51 22 9 111 249 200 29-7-5 22-15-4 18-7-3
x-Los Angeles 46 28 8 100 206 174 23-14-4 23-14-4 16-10-3
Phoenix 37 30 15 89 216 231 22-14-5 15-16-10 14-9-6
Vancouver 36 35 11 83 196 223 20-15-6 16-20-5 12-13-4
Calgary 35 40 7 77 209 241 19-19-3 16-21-4 11-15-3
Edmonton 29 44 9 67 203 270 16-22-3 13-22-6 8-17-4
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
z= clinched overall points title
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