ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – Rookies Justin Fontaine and Mathew Dumba both scored their first NHL goals and Josh Harding made 18 saves for his second straight win as the Minnesota Wild beat the Dallas Stars 5-1 on Saturday night.
Minnesota came in giving up a league-low 22.0 shots per game, and 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.
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.
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 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.
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