Rookies Fontaine, Dumba Lead Wild Past Stars 5-1
They overwhelmed the Dallas Stars on both ends of the rink on Saturday night.
The Wild came in giving up a league-low 22.0 shots per game, and they kept the pressure off Harding, who was filling in for injured starter Niklas Backstrom. Two nights after stopping 14 of 15 shots in a 2-1 win over Winnipeg, Harding faced only 19 shots as the Wild controlled play from the opening faceoff.
Minnesota also blocked 10 shots and had 15 takeaways — compared to just three for the Stars — as they repeatedly frustrated Dallas’ attempts to sustain any offensive momentum.
Dallas also was playing with its backup goalie as starter Kari Lehtonen was injured in a 4-1 win at Winnipeg on Friday. His replacement, Dan Ellis, struggled with Minnesota’s offensive barrage, allowing five goals on 36 shots to a team that had scored just nine goals in four previous games.
The Wild jumped ahead with the fastest goal to start a game in team history, as Fontaine put Minnesota on the board just 12 seconds in. Matt Cooke scooped up a loose puck off a Stars turnover in the high slot and fed it to Fontaine, who fell to his knees but feathered a back-hander past Ellis.
Cooke doubled the lead midway through the first, beating Ellis on a wrap-around after stealing the puck from defenseman Alex Goligoski behind the net off a faceoff.
Minnesota missed a couple of chances to expand its lead, as Kyle Brodziak and Cooke each came away empty on short-handed breakaways during a nearly four-minute Dallas power play. But the Wild broke through with two goals in two minutes midway through the second period to take a 4-0 lead.
Dumba, the seventh overall pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, scored his first career goal on a Minnesota power play, beating Ellis with a wrist shot from the left faceoff circle off a pass from Dany Heatley. Nino Niederreiter then scored off a wide-angle shot that handcuffed Ellis at the left post.
Dallas countered with a power-play goal by Jordie Benn to cut the deficit to 4-1 at 12:40 of the second period, but Zach Parise scored a power-play goal for the Wild late in the third period to restore the four-goal cushion and keep the Stars at arm’s length.
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