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Cullen, Christensen lift Wild past Panthers

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SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — Matt Cullen and Erik Christensen scored in the shootout to lift the Minnesota Wild to a 3-2 win over the Florida Panthers on Thursday night.

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Cullen and Kyle Brodziak scored in regulation, Dany Heatley had two assists, and Niklas Backstrom stopped 41 shots for the Wild.

Christensen scored the first goal in the shootout, followed by Cullen. Backstrom stopped Kris Versteeg and Sean Bergenheim to seal the win. Cullen is 7-for-13 in shootout attempts this season.

The Wild won for just the second time in nine games.

Bergenheim and Mikael Samuelsson scored for the Panthers, who got 26 saves from Jose Theodore made 26 saves. Florida has lost four straight.

Florida tied it at 2 on Bergenheim’s goal with 4:12 left in the third period. Bergenheim grabbed a loose puck in traffic in front and wrapped a shot around a defensive player and past Backstrom.

Minnesota had taken a 2-1 lead on Cullen’s power-play goal earlier in the period. Heatley’s shot was blocked by Theodore, but Cullen grabbed the loose puck in front and swept it into the open net at 1:14. Cullen had gone 15 games without a goal before he scored against Boston on Sunday.

Florida took a 1-0 lead on Samuelsson’s power-play goal in the second. Stephen Weiss took a shot from the right circle that hit the post and bounced off Tomas Kopecky and out to Samuelsson in the left circle. His wrist shot beat Backstrom on the stick side at 13:23.

The Wild tied it with 20 seconds left in the second. Marek Zidlicky took a shot from just inside the blue line that was tipped by Heatley.

NOTES: Weiss played in his 614th game for the Panthers, passing Radek Dvorak for the most in franchise history. ... D Ed Jovanovski returned to the Panthers lineup after missing 14 games because of a broken right hand. ... Florida recalled RW Michal Repik and C Jonathan Matsumoto from AHL San Antonio. D Nolan Yonkman was assigned to San Antonio. ... The Wild recalled G Matt Hackett from AHL Houston on Wednesday. Hackett backed up Backstrom, and G Josh Harding didn’t make the trip. ... C Mikko Koivu missed his third straight game because of an undisclosed injury.

Minnesota 0 1 1 0—3

Florida 0 1 1 0—2

Minnesota won shootout 2-0

First Period—None.

Second Period—1, Florida, Samuelsson 8 (Kopecky, Weiss), 13:23 (pp). 2, Minnesota, Brodziak 16 (Heatley, Zidlicky), 19:40.

Third Period—3, Minnesota, Mat.Cullen 13 (Heatley, Spurgeon), 1:14 (pp). 4, Florida, Bergenheim 13 (Campbell, Samuelsson), 15:48.

Overtime—None.

Shootout—Minnesota 2 (Christensen G, Mat.Cullen G), Florida 0 (Versteeg NG, Bergenheim NG).

Shots on Goal—Minnesota 11-8-7-2—28. Florida 11-14-14-4—43.

Goalies—Minnesota, Backstrom. Florida, Theodore. A—13,892 (17,040). T—2:36.

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Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
(218) 855-5889
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