3 - 2 Final - 2OT
  for this game

Christensen lifts Wild over Panthers in SO

Feb 24, 2012 - 5:51 AM
Sunrise, FL (Sports Network) - Erik Christensen netted the game-winner in the shootout to lift the Minnesota Wild over the Florida Panthers, 3-2, at BankAtlantic Center.

Christensen opened the shootout with a deke to the right before moving back to the left and slipping the puck past Jose Theodore, and after Florida's Kris Versteeg failed to convert, Matt Cullen ripped a shot through Theodore's pads from the slot.

Sean Bergenheim could have kept the shootout going with a goal, but he was also stuffed by Niklas Backstrom to seal the Wild's second straight win on the heels of a seven-game losing streak.

Cullen also scored in regulation, while Kyle Brodziak tallied Minnesota's other goal. Backstrom stopped 41-of-43 shots to earn the win.

Bergenheim and Mikael Sameulsson lit the lamp for the Panthers, who sit one point behind the Winnipeg Jets for the top spot in the Southeast Division after the Jets took a 4-3 decision over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday.

Theodore made 26 saves as Florida lost four consecutive games for the first time since recording an 0-2-2 mark from January 13-20.

"We have the bear down and do our part. If you're not winning games then you are not making the playoffs and that's our goal," Samuelsson said.

The game entered the third period knotted at 1-1, and the Wild used an early power play to take the lead.

Stephen Weiss was called for tripping just 42 seconds into the third and Minnesota took advantage 32 seconds later when Dany Heatley's one-timer from the right circle was blocked, but Cullen grabbed the rebound in the slot and flicked it into the net.

Florida, though, was able to force the extra period when Bergenheim grabbed a pass to the right of the net and fended off a defender before spinning around and sweeping a shot into the far side of the net with 4:12 left in regulation.

Backstrom made four saves and Theodore stopped two shots in overtime.

The Panthers broke a scoreless tie thanks to a Devin Setoguchi goaltender interference penalty in the second frame.

Florida lost the ensuing offensive zone faceoff, but after Minnesota failed to clear the puck, Weiss' shot from the right circle hit the post and bounced right to Samuelsson in the left circle, where he fired it into the open net with 6:37 left in the period.

Minnesota, though, sent the game into the second intermission tied at one on Brodziak's tally with 20 seconds left in the middle stanza.

Heatley attempted a one-timer from the high slot, but his stick shattered on the attempt. Marek Zidlicky redirected the slow-moving puck on net and Theodore kicked it aside, but Brodziak followed the play and cleaned up the rebound.

"It was a really big goal to get that at the end of the period," said Cullen. "The first minute of the period and the last minute of the period are always so important, so to get that one to go in and even things up was huge."

Game Notes

Weiss was playing his 614th career game with Florida, setting a new franchise record...Brodziak's goal was his career-high tying 16th of the season...Minnesota improved to 13-14-5 on the road this season, while Florida fell to 14-8-8 at home...Panthers defenseman Ed Jovanovski returned from a 14- game absence with a broken right hand. He had a plus-1 rating and two penalty minutes in 18:22 of ice time.