(Reuters) – The Minnesota Wild joined Chicago at the top of the Western Conference on Monday with a 3-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning.
After going 1-0 down in the second period to Steven Stamkos’s 15th goal of the season, the Wild fought back through Cal Clutterbuck and Pierre-Marc Bouchard to take a 2-1 lead into the third.
Mikko Koivu added an empty-netter in the final minute to seal the win.
Niklas Backstrom, who had a shaky outing and was pulled during Minnesota’s 5-2 loss to Calgary on Sunday, delivered a much-improved performance, making 32 saves and keeping the Wild in the game until their offense woke up.
“It’s fun to go back out there and get a new chance and know the coach believed,” Backstrom told reporters. “You want to go out there and help the team — (on Sunday) I wasn’t there.”
Backstrom’s job was made slightly easier by a defense boosted by Mike Lundin, who made his debut for the Wild after missing the first 23 games with a back injury, and Greg Zanon, sidelined 16 games because of a groin problem.
“I felt pretty good. It was nice to be worked back into the lineup,” Zanon said. “Maybe in a couple more games I’ll be back to top speed.”
Clutterbuck scored a short-handed goal to tie the contest at 7:39 in the second before Bouchard’s strike gave them the lead 10 minutes later.
Koivu’s goal came with 24 seconds left in the game and added to his assist on Clutterbuck’s goal he now has a team-leading 19 points.
The Wild (14-7-3) are now tied with the Blackhawks for the Western Conference lead on 31 points.
The Lightning (11-10-2) had won two in a row and outshot Minnesota 33-24.