Wild goalie Alex Stalock figured his counterpart, Ben Bishop, knew what captain Mikko Koivu would try in the shootout, especially by the way the Stars goalie reacted to the attempt.
“You saw him,” Stalock said. “He wanted to break his stick because he knew it was coming.”
Koivu, indeed, stuck with his patented move — flicking the puck into the net on his backhand — and his proficiency not only rewarded the Wild with a 3-2 shootout victory Sunday, but it also wrapped up his 1,000th game in memorable fashion.
“It’s his move, in the shootout to win it, in his 1,000th game,” said winger Marcus Foligno. “You couldn’t write a better script. We’re so excited for him and his accomplishment.”
The finish was Koivu’s 42nd in a shootout, which is the most in Wild history, and it sealed his 18th game-deciding goal. That output is tied for the third-most in the NHL since the format was introduced ahead of the 2005-06 season.
“Just tried to pick a move that I’m comfortable with,” said Koivu, whose parents and brother Saku from Finland were in attendance.
Koivu had a chance to shine in the shootout after linemate Zach Parise tied it at 2 with 2 minutes, 30 seconds to go in the third period.
The goal was the second by the power play, which has capitalized eight times over the last seven outings and scored in all but one game in that span. Those eight tallies were tied for the most in the NHL since Nov. 19.
“We’re trying not to be a perimeter team,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “All our goals are coming from the blue paint and right there in front of the net, and that’s where the goals end up coming from. We’re going there, we’re staying there and they’re believing that if you go there and stay there that good things are going to happen.”
Moving up the ranks
Koivu wasn’t the only one to celebrate a milestone Sunday.
Ryan Suter skated in his 1,100th career regular-season game, becoming just the 64th defenseman to reach the plateau. Suter’s also the 195th player overall, 12th active and only the seventh since entering the NHL in 2005 to log at least that many games.
And Stalock made his 100th career start. He’s just the third Minnesota-born goaltender all-time to post 100 starts.
Back to work
Foligno was back in the lineup against the Stars, his first game after missing 10 with a lower-body injury.
To facilitate his return, the Wild scratched center Victor Rask and shifted Ryan Donato from left wing to center.
“The thought process actually was Ryan had scored two goals [in his previous three games],” Boudreau said. “Rask had played well, too, and it was a tough call. I waffled over it for a bit here, but I wanted to reward the younger guy that’s all of a sudden started to play a little better and him get the first opportunity at that spot.”
In his first action since he was hurt Nov. 7, Foligno ended up logging 10:24.
“Third period I liked that my game went back to normal,” he said. “I felt it came back to where I was before. I was more patient with the puck, made some plays, had some physical plays, things like that.”
Goalie Devan Dubnyk won’t accompany the Wild on its upcoming three-game road trip as his wife, Jenn, deals with a serious medical situation. Defenseman Greg Pateryn also won’t travel as he remains on the mend after suffering a setback following core muscle surgery.