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ST. PAUL, Minn. – Jason Pominville had two goals and an assist and the Minnesota Wild roared back from an early two-goal deficit to beat Dallas 5-3 on Monday night and slice the Stars' lead in the Western Conference quarterfinals to 2-1.
Chris Porter put the Wild on the board in the final minute of the first period, their first even-strength goal of the series. Erik Haula added a goal and an assist, Mikko Koivu scored on a power play in the third period and the Wild stopped a seven-game losing streak that started on March 31.
Patrick Sharp scored 26 seconds into the game and again less than 4 minutes later for the Stars, but the Wild controlled the action after that and finished with a 25-17 shots-on-goal advantage.
Game 4 is in Minnesota on Wednesday night, and Game 5 will be back in Dallas on Friday night.
The Stars went nearly 50 minutes without scoring until the puck took a pinball-like path to the net off Colton Sceviour's chest. Sceviour didn't appear to see the puck but was credited with the goal with 6:15 remaining to cut the lead to 4-3.
Pominville's empty-netter all but ended it.
Sharp was uncovered in the slot when he converted a midair tip of Alex Goligoski's shot into a crowd-silencing score, with many of the customers not yet settled in their seats. The quiet hung in the arena air when Sharp, the 14-year veteran in his first season with the Stars, turned a breakaway into a 2-0 lead with his low shot that slipped under goalie Devan Dubnyk's glove.
One of the core members of Chicago's three Stanley Cup champions of the past six years, Sharp helped eliminate the Wild from each of the last three playoffs. Sure enough, after departing the Blackhawks in a summer trade, here he was to haunt the Wild again. In 18 career postseason games against Minnesota, Sharp has nine goals and eight assists.
The Wild needed a few minutes to recover, but by the second half of the first period, they were all over the ice as the fans got over their initial frustration.
Porter muscled his stick in front of Goligoski's to redirect a shot by Haula and give Minnesota a critical goal with 50 seconds left before the first intermission.
Interim coach John Torchetti put journeymen forwards Kurtis Gabriel and Zac Dalpe on the fourth line and scratched Ryan Carter and Jarret Stoll — the only players on the roster who've won a Stanley Cup. Torchetti has been calling for more crashing the net.
The Wild obliged.
Haula did just that when he tipped in Pominville's shot from the boards behind the circle in the second period to tie the game. Then with 47 seconds remaining before the second intermission, Pominville charged toward the crease to chip in the rebound of Nino Niederreiter's shot during a 4-on-4 created by dual penalties.
As it was down the stretch of the regular season, the Niederreiter-Haula-Pominville line was the catalyst on both ends of the ice for the Wild, helping keep Stars leading scorer Jamie Benn in check while producing a total of seven points on the night.
NOTES: Sharp has five goals in eight career postseason games at Minnesota. He has 45 goals in 132 playoff games, by far the most on the Stars roster. ... After stopping 22 of 22 shots in Game 1 and 25 of 26 in Game 2, Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen had only 20 saves on 24 tries. Dubnyk stopped 14 of 17 shots. ... This was the first playoff game in Minnesota for the Stars franchise since 1992, when it played as the North Stars and lost in a first-round series to Detroit. ... The Wild are 13-14 at home in the playoffs in their history, but they're 8-4 over the last two years.