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Marcus Foligno scores game-winner as Wild win first game back from break, 2-1

CHICAGO — While Marcus Foligno was fighting, icing his right hand and sitting in the penalty box on Wednesday night, his brother Nick was doing the glamorous stuff, scoring the game-tying goal in the second period of a late puck drop at United Center.

At one point, Marcus Foligno, the veteran Wild winger and alternate captain, yelled at his older brother on the Blackhawks’ bench.

“I said, ‘It’s (garbage). I fight and you score,’ ” Marcus said.

That changed in the third period, when Marcus Foligno redirected a pass from Vinni Lettieri past Petr Mzarek for the go-ahead, third-period goal in the Wild’s 2-1 victory, their 11th straight against their Central Division rival.

It was the 25th time Marcus and Nick Foligno, sons of longtime NHL wing Mike Foligno, had played against one another in a regular-season game, but the first time each scored in the same game (they each scored in the same preseason game in September).

“I’m happy for him,” Marcus said. “It’s tough, but just one of those games. I’m happy we got the win.”

The Wild stopped a two-game skid and won their first game back after their eight-game bye week/all-star break. For the moment, they’re five points out of the eighth and final Western Conference playoff spot, but their performance Wednesday was less than inspiring.

“We found a way to win the game,” head coach John Hynes said, “but in my opinion the standard needs to be much higher.”

Jake Lucchini scored his second NHL goal, Vinni Lettieri returned from a 15-game absence because of a broken right foot to post two assists, and Filip Gustavsson stopped 21 of 23 shots.

The fourth line, with Lettieri and Brandon Duhaime flanking center Lucchini, was the only consistently effective line for a Wild team trying to hang onto dim playoff hopes with now 32 regular-season games remaining. They had enough to beat a Blackhawks team playing its 12th straight game with rookie star Connor Bedard — who had his jaw broken on Jan. 5 — but it probably wasn’t enough to beat many others, especially those ahead of them in the West.

The Blackhawks lost for the fifth straight time.

“You never take anything for granted in the league,” Hynes said. “A win’s a win. (Getting) two points is important. Not all games are going to be pretty. But to me, it’s the mindset. It’s the mindset that we need to play with for 60 minutes, night in and night out, that gives us a chance to win. And tonight, it wasn’t long enough.

“We found a way, but it wasn’t the right recipe to give ourselves a chance to win every night.”

Lucchini scored on a slap shot in the first period to give Minnesota a 1-0 lead heading into the second intermission. They were outshooting the Blackhawks 10-1 at that point, and in position to put the NHL’s worst team away early.

Instead, the Blackhawks turned the tables and tied the game when Nick Foligno one-timed a pass at the crease from Philipp Kurashev past Gustavsson at 13:44.

“We knew it was just a setback,” said Marcus Foligno, who bloodied the right ear of Jarred Tinordi during a long fight in the second period. “We’ve gotta stop doing it. We’re really hurting ourselves when it comes to the mentality of the game.”

Foligno also was called for a pair of minors, giving him a full 9 minutes in the penalty box — and an earful from Blackhawks fans.

“ ‘You’re brother’s better than you,’ ” he said. “I’ve heard it all before.”

Marcus got the last dig in, scoring the game-winner at 10:07 of the third period. It was a win, but the Wild will need to be better on Friday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Xcel Energy Center. The Wild squandered a chance to pull within two points of a playoff spot in a loss to Nashville, and followed it was a loss to struggling Anaheim to go into their break.

“It was just frustrating. We tend to do that lately, and that’s kind of the problem with this season is just our let-ups,” Marcus Foligno said. “Enough’s enough. We gotta hold each other accountable. We gotta get ticked off. Our third period was better but we could have had a better lead going into the third.”