St. Paul, MN (SportsNetwork.com) - Nino Niederreiter and Zach Parise tallied first-period goals that held up as the Minnesota Wild posted a 3-1 decision over the Carolina Hurricanes at XCel Energy Center.
Both early scores came against Justin Peters, who was pressed into duty for Carolina when No. 1 goaltender Cam Ward exited with a significant lower-body injury just 4:07 into the contest.
The Hurricanes announced during the game that Ward would likely miss the next 3-to-4 weeks.
Dany Heatley's first goal of the season, an empty-netter with 25.9 seconds left, sealed the Wild's fourth straight win on home ice.
"I thought our start was good. Got up a couple goals and we definitely let our foot off the gas," said Wild head coach Mike Yeo.
Josh Harding stopped 20-of-21 shots for Minnesota before leaving after two periods with a lower-body injury of his own. Niklas Backstrom came on for the third and made seven saves to protect the lead.
Alexander Semin scored on the power-play for the Hurricanes' only goal. Peters turned back 19-of-21 chances for Carolina, which had began its current four- game road trip with back-to-back victories.
"Peters came in and did a good job for jumping into that kind of situation," said Hurricanes head coach Kirk Muller.
Ward sustained the injury when stretching out to make a save on an attempt by the Wild's Mikael Granlund that landed wide. Minnesota then took advantage with Peters entering the game cold, connecting on its initial two shots on goal against the recently recalled netminder to forge ahead.
The first came with the Wild on a power play 8:21 in, with Granlund sending a nifty no-look feed from behind the net that Niederreiter rocketed home from the slot.
Parise made it a 2-0 lead with just over eight minutes to go in the opening period, skating in and beating a backcheck to knock in the rebound of teammate Jared Spurgeon's shot that clanged off the left post.
The Hurricanes finally got on the board with 6:01 remaining in the second period. With Heatley sent off for slashing, Semin one-timed a cross-ice feed from Eric Staal while stationed at the left circle to convert the power-play opportunity.
Carolina had two more 5-on-4 sequences in the third period, but failed to threaten on either, and a high-sticking call on Radek Dvorak with 1:38 to go all but ended the Hurricanes' comeback hopes.
Peters was pulled after the penalty, but a good outlet pass from Wild defenseman Nate Prosser led to Heatley's empty-net marker that clinched the outcome.
The Wild were hosting "Harding's Hope Night", with proceeds of the game donated to Harding's charity that raises funds and awareness for multiple sclerosis. The goaltender was diagnosed with the disease last November ... Carolina announced during the game that it would recall goaltender Mike Murphy from AHL Charlotte prior to Friday's matchup with Colorado ... Staal skated in his 700th career NHL game ... Minnesota played without defenseman Jonas Brodin, who fractured his right cheekbone when struck by a shot Tuesday against Nashville ... Forward Patrick Dwyer sat out for Carolina due to an upper-body injury ... The Hurricanes fell to 0-2-2 against Western Conference foes this season.