The surging Pittsburgh Penguins showcased a high-powered offense at the Xcel Energy Center Tuesday night in St. Paul, defeating the Minnesota Wild, 4-1.
It was Minnesota's first home loss of the season. Defenseman Ryan Suter told Michael Russo that they came out flat.
The Penguins and Wild were two of the top three scoring teams in the league entering the game, but while Pittsburgh's offense continued to chug along, it was their defense that forced the Wild into submission. Minnesota was kept off the scoreboard until Nino Niederreiter's backhanded shot got past goalie Thomas Greiss for a shorthanded goal.
Greiss, a backup to Marc Andre-Fleury, stopped 33 of 34 shots.
Zach Parise did not play in the third period and head coach Mike Yeo said the Wild star suffered an upper-body injury.
Nick Spaling, Brandon Sutter, Chris Kunitz and Patric Hornqvist scored for the Pens. Kunitz' goal was a deflection off a shot from Evgeni Malkin just 12 seconds into a second-period power play. It was Pittsburgh's league-leading 19th goal with the man advantage this season. Minnesota went 0-4 on the power play and has just two power play goals this season.
Special moment before the game
Prior to the first puck drop of the night, the Wild honored the late Scott Patrick, the Mendota Heights police officer who was shot and killed making a routine traffic stop on July 30. Patrick's wife and two daughters were at the game to do the "Let's Play Hockey" call before the opening faceoff.
This embed is invalid
Tough road ahead
Eight of Minnesota's next 11 games are on the road, beginning with a test in Ottawa on Thursday night.