Jared Spurgeon and the Minnesota Wild turned a tough start into a nice win.
Spurgeon scored twice to help the Wild beat the Ottawa Senators 4-3 on Saturday.
Jordan Greenway and Zach Parise also scored for the Wild (20-17-3), who improved to 2-0 on a four-game trip. Devan Dubnyk stopped 24 shots.
“I thought we were really bad in the first period and Dubnyk kept us in,” coach Bruce Boudreau. “It was almost totally opposite of the Toronto game where he had a rough start and the team played really well. If he hadn’t played as well as he had we probably would have been down three by the 10-minute mark I figure. Once we got our skating legs we started to go a little better.”
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Matt Duchene, Ryan Dzingel and Mark Stone scored for Ottawa (15-22-5), which dropped its seventh consecutive game.
“In the second we got away from what we were doing that made us successful,” Duchene said. “We weren’t playing bad, but we weren’t playing the way we were and they get three goals and obviously two of them are kind of fluky, but that’s just the way it’s going right now.”
Anders Nilsson made 22 saves in his Senators debut after he was acquired Wednesday in a trade with Vancouver.
“It’s always good to get the first game, but obviously I would have hoped for a better result,” Nilsson said. “There’s nothing I can do about it now, it’s just turn the page and it’s a new day tomorrow and a new game.”
Parise gave the Wild a 4-2 lead when he jumped on a rebound 6:07 into the third. But the Senators pulled within one when Stone tipped a Cody Ceci shot past Dubnyk for his 20th of the season midway through the period.
Ottawa had a two-man advantage for the last 26 seconds of the game, but was unable to capitalize.
“Sometimes it takes something extraordinary to get out of a skid like this,” Duchene said. “We’re going to keep pushing; we’re not packing it in. There’s lots of hockey left to be played and hopefully we can work our way out and things will start bouncing a little bit more, but it’s tough right now.”
The Senators got off to a much better start than they had in their previous few games. They were outshooting the Wild 12-2 midway through the first and might have had a few early goals if not for Dubnyk’s performance.
Ottawa got on the board in the final minute of the first. Duchene stepped out of the penalty box, took a pass from Zack Smith and muscled his way through the Wild defense before getting around Dubnyk for an empty net.
Spurgeon tied the game just 41 seconds into the second. He took a drop pass from Luke Kunin and beat Nilsson for his sixth of the year.
Ottawa regained the lead on Dzingel’s 16th, but the Wild tied it back up when Greenway jammed a puck under Nilsson 14:10 into the period.
Minnesota grabbed the lead for good when Spurgeon scored his second from a sharp angle with 3:29 left in the period.
“I just fired it,” Spurgeon said. “I just tried to put it on net and I think (Parise) was already in front of the net so worse case there’s a rebound for him, but I think it just trickled over his pad.”
NOTES: Ottawa F Jean-Gabriel Pageau is expected to make his season debut Sunday after suffering a torn Achilles on the first day of training camp. … F Nick Paul was a healthy scratch for the Senators. … Ottawa D Christian Jaros returned to the lineup after missing three games with a broken finger. … Senators F Rudolfs Balcers, acquired as part of the Erik Karlsson trade, made his NHL debut. … Minnesota’s J.T Brown and Nate Prosser were healthy scratches.
Wild: Visit Montreal on Monday night.
Senators: Host Carolina on Sunday.