Koivu, Wild stay alive with OT win in Dallas

Sat Apr 23, 2016 2:38am EDT
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(The Sports Xchange) - The Minnesota Wild wanted a chance to send their first-round series with the Dallas Stars back to the Twin Cities for Game 6 on Sunday.

And thanks to captain Mikko Koivu scoring the game-tying goal late in regulation and then delivering the game-winner early in overtime, the Wild, who now trail the best-of-7 series, 3-2, remain alive thanks to a 5-4 overtime victory at American Airlines Center on Friday.

"Of course, it's always nice to score. It's more important in the bigger picture how you play individually and as a team," Koivu said. "We've been playing better as the series goes on here, and that's a good sign."

Koivu scored the game-winner, his third of the series, by redirecting a wrist shot by Ryan Suter from the left point. Koivu knocked Suter's attempt out of the air, deflecting the puck enough to send it through the five-hole of Stars goaltender Antti Niemi, who stopped 19 of 24 shots.

"We wanted to come back for our fans. They deserve this game," Wild interim coach John Torchetti said. "I'm sure our fans will be backing us big time."

Koivu tied it at 4-4 with 3:09 remaining with his second of the series on a wrist shot from the slot. Mikael Granlund, Jordan Schroeder and Nino Niederreiter also had regulation goals for the Wild and Devan Dubnyk stopped 37 of 41 shots.

"I thought it was pretty calm," Koivu said of the mood on the Wild bench before he tied it. "We still knew there was a lot of time left. That momentum can switch real quick and it did."

Jason Pominville, Jared Spurgeon and Suter each had two assists. Granlund had a goal and an assist.

Johnny Oduya, Jamie Benn, Jason Spezza and Alex Goligoski scored for Dallas in regulation and John Klingberg had two assists.   Continued...

Apr 22, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; The Minnesota Wild celebrate center Mikko Koivu (9) game winning goal against the Dallas Stars during the overtime period in game five of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the American Airlines Center.  Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports