The Minnesota Wild almost earned another comeback victory on Saturday night but a third period rally came up short in a 5-4 loss to the Florida Panthers.
The Wild got bad news early when Jared Spurgeon left the game with a lower-body injury. The Minnesota captain did not return and left a hole on the blue line, allowing the Panthers to take a 2-0 lead on goals by Owen Tippett and Frank Vatrano.
But the Wild got on the board in the second period when Joel Eriksson Ek provided a power play marker to cut Florida's lead in half.
Vatrano scored his second goal of the game to put the Panthers up 3-1 going into the third period but Kirill Kaprizov answered with his fifth goal of the year to make it a 3-2 game.
Carter Verhage put Florida up by two goals later in the third period but it set the stage for the final minute. Marcus Foligno began the comeback bid with his sixth goal of the season but the Panthers answered immediately with an empty net goal from Sam Bennett.
Although Ryan Hartman scored with just under nine seconds remaining, the Wild ran out of time.
The Wild (11-6-0) will play the second end of a back-to-back on Sunday afternoon when they square off with the Tampa Bay Lightning.