Wild score five power-play goals, hold off Panthers, 6-4

The Wild aren’t dead quite yet.

The day after a 7-3 setback in Tampa Bay, the Wild scored five power-play goals and withstood three injuries to another group of key contributors to beat the Florida Panthers 6-4 on Friday at Amerant Bank Arena in Sunrise, Fla.

The Wild pulled within seven points from the last playoff spot in the Western Conference, with five teams ahead of them, but after beating the Panthers, they’re 4-0 against the top two teams in the East, sweeping both Boston and Florida this season.

Kirill Kaprizov scored two power-play goals, and Ryan Hartman, Joel Eriksson Ek and Mats Zuccarello each added one for the Wild, tying a team record last achieved in a 6-2 win at Nashville on Nov. 29, 2008.

“I really liked the difference between last night and tonight,” Wild coach John Hynes told reporters after the game.

Hartman’s empty-net goal with 11.8 seconds left sealed the victory for Minnesota, which finishes this three-game road trip with an afternoon puck drop Sunday at Carolina. Brock Faber had three assists and now leads all NHL rookies in assists with 23.

“It was a battle. It felt like a playoff game, right? Back and forth and physical,” Faber told Bally Sports North after the game. “We talked a lot after yesterday’s game; we did some things to hurt ourselves, and it’s kind of been a trend lately. It got a little shaky tonight, but we came through.”

The Wild have won two of their past three games.

“One at a time, day by day,” Faber said. “We’ve got to continue trending upwards.”

The Wild learned Thursday that Jared Spurgeon is out for the season because of hip and back injuries, and they started the game Friday without forward Freddy Gaudreau, who suffered an upper-body injury in Tampa on Thursday. Then they lost goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury to an upper-body injury and center Connor Dewar to a lower-body injury in the second period.

Fleury left the game at the same time as Florida’s Sergei Bobrovsky, who was pulled for Anthony Stolarz with 9:30 left in the second period after giving up Zuccarello’s goal from the high slot. In the first period, Fleury was knocked down by William Lockwood while trying to corral a puck behind his net and, Hynes told reporters, took himself out of the game.

Filip Gustavsson came in and stopped 24 of 27 shots.

Kaprizov opened the scoring when he deflected a pass from Matt Boldy at 2:49 of the first period, then put the Wild up 5-2 with seven seconds left in a power play early in the third period.

But the Panthers, the East’s Stanley Cup entrant last season, didn’t go away quietly. Anton Lundell pulled Florida within two goals when he backhanded a rebound past Gustavsson at 8:05, and Gustav Forsling made it 5-4 just 17 seconds later.

Florida came at Minnesota in waves for the final 7 minutes of the game, and Gustavsson made a series of tough saves. Panthers coach Paul Maurice pulled Stolarz with just more than 2 minutes to play. Gustavsson made a sliding glove save to save Minnesota’s lead with 48.2 seconds remaining, and Hartman added an empty netter with 11.8 to seal it.

Before Friday night’s game, Hynes told reporters that Gaudreau’s status had yet to be determined.

“He’s still getting evaluated,” Hynes said. “I think tomorrow, well, he’ll be at the doctor’s again, and then we’ll have maybe a better assessment of when he’ll be back.”

Hynes didn’t have an update on Fleury or Dewar. When asked by a reporter after the game if the Wild will have to recall some players from Iowa for Sunday’s game against the Hurricanes, Hynes said, “I don’t know, they could be good, they could be fine.”

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