NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Minnesota Wild coach Bruce Boudreau wasn’t patting himself on the back after putting Mike Reilly, Chris Stewart and backup goaltender Alex Stalock into the lineup against the New Jersey Devils.
The three deserved a chance to play after sitting out a while. They made the most of it.
Joel Eriksson Ek and Stewart scored in a 39-second span during Minnesota’s three-goal second period that Reilly ignited, and Stalock made 38 saves as the Wild rallied from two down to beat the Devils 4-2 on Thursday night.
“We have a lot of guys playing the same way,” Boudreau said about his moves. “There is no reason why some guy sits out for another guy because you are a team of 22. We are playing as a team right now, so that is what happened.”
The win was the 11th in 17 games for the Wild (11-3-3) and it moved them into third place in the Central Division.
Eric Staal iced the game with an empty-net goal, his 900th NHL point.
“I still feel like I have a lot of hockey left in my career, but nonetheless it’s a nice even number,” Stall said of the milestone, which came on his team-high 27th goal. “It’s been a lot of fun. A ton of credit to the guys I’ve played with over my career so far and I’m hoping for a lot more the rest of my time playing.”
Taylor Hall and Stefan Noesen scored for the Devils, who have lost two in a row after a four-game winning streak. Eddie Lack made 21 saves.
Hall’s 13-game point streak is the longest in NHL this season, one more than David Pastrnak of Boston.
“A couple of miscues, a couple of errors on our part … giving up odd-man rushes, giving up easy tap-ins backdoor,” Hall said. “That’s something we review and you’ve got to take care of. “
Reilly, who had sat out the last four games, got Minnesota on the board with a little luck. His shot from the point was stopped by Lack, but the rebound ricocheted off defenseman John Moore into the net at 7:28 of the second period. It came six seconds after a Minnesota power play ended.
Eriksson Ek, who snapped a 50-game goal drought on Tuesday, poked a great, one-handed, cross-ice pass by Daniel Winnik past Lack at 12:25 to tie the game.
Stewart, who had played in only one of the last seven games, capped the outburst with a shot from the left circle that Lack probably should have stopped. It was Stewart’s first goal since Dec. 19.
“We were in control for most of the game,” Lack said. “Guys played well enough in front of me. It’s unfortunate that Stalock outplayed me. But you know what? I’ve got to have that third one. He found the five-hole. It was a good move by him but I’ve got to be better there.”
Stalock made the lead stand up in the final period, stopping 16 shots — including excellent saves on Hall, Nico Hischier and Kyle Palmieri.
The Devils seemed to be in control early in the second period when Noesen scored in close to make it 2-0.
Hall had given New Jersey the lead midway through the first with a power-play goal on a shot from the right circle. He has scored in three straight games and has 26 goals this season.
NOTES: After the game, the Devils acquired speedy forward Michael Grabner from the Rangers in the first trade between the cross-river rivals. New Jersey sent a 2018 second-round draft pick and 20-year-old defensive prospect Yegor Rykov to New York. … One of the biggest cheers of the night was for the United States women’s hockey team. Highlights of the gold-medal win over Canada were shown in the first period. … Devils forward Miles Wood was back in the lineup after serving a two-game suspension for boarding. … Minnesota’s bus ride from New York City in the rain — roughly 13 miles — took 90 minutes. … Patrik Elias, whose jersey will be retired Saturday by the Devils, dropped the puck for a ceremonial opening faceoff.
Wild: Finish a New York City-area swing at the Rangers on Friday night.
Devils: Host the New York Islanders on Saturday night.
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