Nelson scores early in OT, Islanders beat Wild 3-2

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A pair of guys who played high school hockey in Minnesota helped the New York Islanders pick up an important two points on the road Sunday night.
They also did no favors for the home team.
Brock Nelson scored 1:04 into overtime and the Islanders beat the Wild 3-2 to move into a tie atop the Metropolitan Division.
“It’s a great moment for him and hopefully he gets a few minutes to share it with them after this and then we’ve gotta head home,” said Devon Toews, who assisted on a goal by Anders Lee.
Nelson played for Warroad near the Canadian border; Lee is from the Minneapolis suburb of Edina.
Lee scored for the fourth straight game and Jordan Eberle added a goal for New York, which has won five of seven. Thomas Greiss made 32 saves. The Islanders are tied with Washington with 91 points with 10 games remaining, but currently hold the tiebreaker with a greater scoring differential.
In the extra session, Nelson converted a feed from Mathew Barzal to beat Alex Stalock with a wrister from the slot. Nelson, who added an assist, established a new career high of 47 points.
Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said his club deserved better and was not happy with the Islanders line change about 25 seconds before the winning goal.
With Minnesota bringing the puck out of its own end, Barzal jumped over the boards with a trailing Cal Clutterbuck coming off. After about 10 seconds in the Islanders zone, Barzal and Nelson went the other way for the game-winning goal.
“It was 40 feet too many men. Who are we kidding here? If you look, the guy was at the top of the circle when the other guy came on ice,” Boudreau said.
Zach Parise scored for the first time in 11 games for Minnesota, which pulled one point behind Arizona for the second wild card in the Western Conference. Jared Spurgeon also scored, and Ryan Donato had two assists for 13 points in 13 games since being acquired from Boston on Feb. 20. Stalock finished with 17 saves.
“This team we played tonight is a top team in the league and we outplayed them. It says a lot,” Stalock said.
New York, which had 42 shots in Saturday’s 2-1 loss at Detroit, didn’t get its first of 20 shots until midway through the opening period.
Eberle made it count, ending a 17-game scoring drought by beating Stalock on the short side after Barzal forced a turnover.
“Today’s game was important, just trying to stick to the game plan,” Nelson said. “But in the same way I don’t think we played at the same level but found a way. Timely goals, timely kills, timely saves and just a good mix to get two points.”
Minnesota thought it tied the score 5 minutes into the second when Donato jabbed at a rebound and the puck sneaked across the line. However, the Islanders successfully challenged that Greiss was interfered with during the scramble.
Parise did tie it about six minutes later with a highlight-type individual effort. Ryan Suter centered the puck to the Wild forward at the edge of the blue paint. Parise backhanded the puck between his legs, then reached back between them with his stick to flick a forehand behind Greiss with 8:49 left.
Lee scored on the power play for a 2-1 lead late in the second. It was New York’s first power-play goal in 25 attempts spanning 12 games.
Spurgeon scored on the power play in the third to it 2-2. Minnesota finished 2 for 6 with the man advantage.
NOTES: Lee also scored in four straight games from Nov. 29 to Dec. 6. … The Islanders are 10-1-1 in the second half of back-to-backs this season. … Suter recorded his 300th point with the Wild since he and Parise signed 13-year deals on July 4, 2012. … Islanders C Casey Cizikas (lower-body strain) missed his second straight game. His 19 goals are third-best on the team.
Islanders: Host Boston on Tuesday night.
Wild: Host Colorado on Tuesday night.
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Donato scores 2, Wild past Rangers 5-2

By Andres Ybarra
Associated Press

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Ryan Donato scored two goals and Devan Dubnyk had 26 saves as the Minnesota Wild beat the New York Rangers 5-2 on Saturday night to stay in the thick of the playoff race.
Eric Staal, Jared Spurgeon and J.T. Brown also scored for the Wild, who snapped a three-game losing streak that dropped them out of the final wild card in the Western Conference. Minnesota entered the day three points behind Phoenix for the last spot. It was the Wild’s second win in 11 home games.
Mika Zibanejad scored his first goal in nine games and Pavel Buchnevich added a third-period goal for the Rangers, who lost their third straight. Henrik Lundqvist finished with 41 saves and managed to keep the Rangers within striking distance.
Donato’s wrister on a breakaway at 4:40 of the first period beat Lundqvist’s stick side to put Minnesota up 1-0. Zibanejad tied it 90 seconds later, catching Dubnyk out of position on a shot from behind the goal line that angled off the goaltender and into the net.
Donato was credited with a redirect on Luke Kunin’s shot with just under 4 minutes left in the first to reclaim the lead.
Staal made it 3-1 at 4:51 of the second after his attempted pass to Zach Parise hit off the outstretched Neal Pionk’s stick and into the net.
Spurgeon’s power-play goal at 6:04 of the third gave him 13 for the season, the fourth-most single-season goals by a Wild defenseman. Brown added an empty-netter at 17:25.
NOTES: Donato has 11 points in 12 games with the Wild. He also notched his fourth point in two games against the Rangers with Minnesota this season. … Zibanejad established a new career high with his 28th goal this season. He’s also the first Rangers center to score at least 28 goals since Eric Lindros in 2001-02. … Wild LW Jason Zucker left the bench for a portion of the second when Brady Skjei fell on his right leg early in the period after a collision behind the New York net. Zucker didn’t put any weight on the leg as he was helped off the ice, but returned later in the period.
Rangers: Host Detroit on Tuesday night.
Wild: Host the New York Islanders on Sunday.

Livers scores 21, No. 10 Michigan pounds Minnesota

By Andrew Seligman
AP Sports Writer

CHICAGO (AP) — No. 10 Michigan had just buried Minnesota when the focus shifted to the opportunity at hand.
The Wolverines didn’t just earn a shot at a record third straight Big Ten Tournament championship. They put themselves in position to get some payback against their archrival.
Isaiah Livers scored a career-high 21 points, and Michigan set up a Big Ten title game against No. 6 Michigan State with a 76-49 romp over Minnesota in the semifinals on Saturday.
The third-seeded Wolverines (28-5) took control with a big run in the first half and put the game away in the second. On Sunday, they will go for their first win in three tries this season over the Spartans, who beat Wisconsin 67-55 in the other semifinal.
“I’m so excited to get this opportunity again,” Ignas Brazdeikas said. “We’ve got to embrace this opportunity, because we might not get it again. We might not play them again. We’ve got to get our revenge.”
Michigan blew a chance to win the regular-season title by losing to its rival twice in the final four games. Michigan State wound up with the top seed in the conference tournament.
They’re set to meet again, with the Spartans trying to extend a record by winning their sixth championship and Michigan also trying to do something no other Big Ten team has done.
“We have to embrace it,” coach John Beilein said. “Michigan State is not going away as being a force in the Big Ten. Michigan is not going away as a force in the Big Ten. And as a result, you have two great programs … that have both been to Final Fours the last 10 years. … It’s a great venue right now, with two really storied programs going at it. There were times in the ‘60s and ‘70s and ‘80s that weren’t like that. Now, to be right there, it feels really good that we’ve accomplished that. I think they feel the same way, that they are competing with a great program like Michigan every day and it’s great for everybody.”
Beating Michigan State almost certainly won’t be easy. Getting past Minnesota, however, was a breeze .
Livers matched a personal best by nailing four 3-pointers. Zavier Simpson added 15 points and nine assists, helping Michigan win its 10th straight Big Ten Tournament game — the conference’s longest such streak.
Amir Coffey led Minnesota (21-13) with 14 points. But after squeezing out tight victories over Penn State and No. 13 Purdue to reach the semifinals for the second time in three years, the Gophers were simply overmatched.
“I think we made a good run,” Minnesota’s Jordan Murphy said. “Obviously, this is something we can take away from and have positive momentum going into the (NCAA) Tournament. We’ll see where we’re at tomorrow and just make sure that our guys are confident and make sure we keep our heads up.”
The game was tied at 13 midway through the first half before the Wolverines broke it open with an 18-2 run, holding Minnesota scoreless for nearly six minutes.
Livers drove the baseline for a two-handed dunk and Simpson finished it with a 3, making it 31-15 with 3:34 left.
After Murphy scored in the paint to end the drought for Minnesota, Jon Teske buried a 3 for Michigan that hit the flat part of the back of the rim. And Simpson went nearly the length of the court for a buzzer-beating layup off a miss by Coffey, making it 38-19.
Michigan put the game away in the second half with a 9-0 run that made it 56-30 with about 14 minutes left.
Minnesota: The Gophers put themselves on more solid ground for the NCAA Tournament with two conference tournament victories.
Michigan: Besides getting some payback against Michigan State, a conference tournament championship would also be a nice prize before the Wolverines set their sights on another deep NCAA run. Michigan lost to Villanova in the national championship game last season.
Minnesota: Awaits a postseason invitation.
Michigan: Faces Michigan State on Sunday.

Murphy, Coffey lead Minnesota over No. 13 Purdue 75-73

By Andrew Seligman
AP Sports Writer

CHICAGO (AP) — Minnesota came into the Big Ten Tournament looking to secure a brighter postseason future after an inconsistent regular season.
With a trip to the conference semifinals, things are looking good Even better, the Gophers knocked off one of the favorites to get there.
Jordan Murphy scored 27 points, Amir Coffey added 21 points and Minnesota beat No. 13 Purdue 75-73 on Friday night to advance to the semifinals.
Murphy drove for a go-ahead three-point play and hit two free throws in the closing minutes, and the Gophers (21-12) beat the Boilermakers (23-9) for the second time in 10 days when Carsen Edwards missed a 3 as time expired.
Murphy finished three points shy of his season high. He also had eight rebounds.
Coffey made 7 of 13 shots. Daniel Oturu added 13 points and 10 rebounds, helping Minnesota advance to the semifinals for the second time in three years. The Gophers will face the Michigan-Iowa winner.
“We’ve just been weird,” coach Richard Pitino said. “We haven’t gone on these huge runs of wins. We’ve kind of like gone on some losing streaks and sneaked out a big win. We’ve got some unassuming guys.”
They were easy to overlook after an up-and-down regular season. But wins like this might open some eyes.
“They’re not a beat-your-chest type of group,” Pitino said. “I think it’s just a matter of winning games. … Our focus is not on attention. It’s on getting rest right now and seeing who we play next.”
Matt Haarms scored 16 points for Purdue. Ryan Cline added 14 points and eight assists. But after winning 17 of 20 to surge to a share of their second conference regular-season championship in three years, the Boilermakers never really found their rhythm.
Purdue missed its share of open jumpers and made just 6 of 24 3-pointers, with Edwards missing seven of eight from beyond the arc. The Big Ten’s leading scorer, he finished with 11 points on 4-of-17 shooting.
“It’s not like I was uncomfortable or as a team we were uncomfortable,” Edwards said. “We took shots we normally take. I don’t think they made us take shots we’re not used to taking.”
Minnesota led by as much as 10 in the second half. But Trevion Williams put back a missed 3 by Edwards to give Purdue a 71-69 lead with about 3:30 remaining.
Murphy drove for a three-point play to put Minnesota back on top and hit two free throws with 1:17 remaining to make it a three-point game.
After a weak miss by Haarms inside, Minnesota committed a shot-clock violation with 27 seconds to go.
Haarms scored in the post to cut it to 74-73 with 12 seconds left. Purdue immediately fouled Dupree McBrayer, who hit the first free throw but missed the second.
Haarms grabbed the rebound, but Edwards missed the potential winning 3 from the left corner as time expired.
“I think it gives us a lot of confidence, just knowing that our players can stay composed and withstand runs,” Murphy said.
Minnesota: The Gophers have won four of five after dropping six of seven. They were a good bet to make the NCAA coming into this tournament and might have avoided a play-in game with an overtime victory over Penn State on Thursday. They followed that up by beating one of the favorites to win the conference tournament.
Purdue: Instead of making a push for their second Big Ten Tournament title, the Boilermakers will try to regroup for the NCAAs.
“I feel like that was the best shot we had at that point. They denied me the ball and I had to make a second cut to get it. We were kind of short on time, so I had to make a play.” — Edwards on his missed 3 at the buzzer.
Minnesota: Will face No. 10 Michigan or Iowa in the semifinals.

Stars overcome Bishop’s injury in 4-1 win vs. Wild

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Radek Faksa, Roope Hintz and Joel L’Esperance scored for Dallas in a span of 2:22 early in the second period, and the Stars hung on for a 4-1 win over the Minnesota Wild after goalie Ben Bishop was hurt Thursday night.
Anton Khudobin stopped 14 of the 15 shots he faced in relief of Bishop, who made seven saves and established a franchise record by stretching his scoreless streak to 240:53 before exiting with a lower-body injury.
Alexander Radulov added an empty-netter for the Stars, who have won six of their last seven games — five in regulation.
Jason Zucker had the only goal for the Wild, who took a big hit in the Western Conference wild-card race with this loss. They’re in ninth place with 74 points and 11 games to go, trailing Arizona for the final spot. The Coyotes had 75 points entering their game against Anaheim.
The Stars, meanwhile, moved into a tie with St. Louis for third place in the Central Division with 79 points. They have 12 games remaining, as do the Blues.
At the 4:11 mark of the second period, Blake Comeau sent an off-balance one-timer from right inside the blue line into the slot where Faksa blindly tipped it past Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk as Comeau fell down for his fourth goal in his last 10 games.
Hintz, who scored twice Tuesday in a 3-0 win at Buffalo, knocked in a sprawling rebound just 1:14 later that sneaked between Dubnyk’s pads and crept across the goal line. Then a mere 1:08 after that, Jamie Benn’s backhand pass from the boards was deflected in by L’Esperance for his first NHL goal.
The goalie change immediately followed, except this switch was strangely made by the scoring team. That’s because Bishop, who leads the NHL in save percentage and posted shutouts in each of his last three starts, was injured.
Khudobin, a seventh-round draft pick by the Wild in 2004 who’s in his 10th season in the NHL, picked up right where Bishop left off. Zucker ended an 0-for-18 slump by the Wild on the power play over their last six games with his rebound backhand midway through the second period , but that’s all they managed.
Minnesota’s five-game homestand started sluggishly with a 3-0 loss to Pacific Division leader San Jose on Monday.
This was already going to be a critical response for a team still trying to find some momentum in this sidewinding season dented by the loss to injuries of top-scoring defenseman Matt Dumba (39 games missed) and captain and center Mikko Koivu (18 games missed), and disrupted by three separate forward-for-forward swaps that brought Victor Rask, Ryan Donato and Kevin Fiala into the lineup over the last two months.
Throw the Western Conference standings into the equation, and this matchup with the Stars became one of the Wild’s most important games of the month. They fell flat again, losing their third straight game and falling to 1-6-3 in their last 10 home games since Jan. 19.

Coffey leads Gophers over Penn State, 77-72 in OT

By Andrew Seligman
AP Sports Writer

CHICAGO (AP) — Amir Coffey scored 10 of his 22 points in the final minute, and Minnesota rallied for a 77-72 overtime victory over Penn State in the second round of the Big Ten Tournament on Thursday night.
Coffey put the Golden Gophers (20-12) on top for good 69-66 when he drove for a 3-point play, burying the free throw after he got knocked to the floor by a rotating Josh Reaves.
Lamar Stevens then missed a jumper. Coffey got bumped by Jamari Wheeler in a scramble for a loose ball, resulting in a heated exchange that led to technicals for both players and an ejection by Penn State’s Mike Watkins for leaving the bench.
Coffey then made both free throws to make it 71-66 with 33 seconds left. But Penn State continued to hang in.
It was 75-69 when Myreon Jones banked in a 3 with four seconds left. But Coffey made two free throws to seal the win and set up a matchup with No. 13 Purdue on Friday.
Dupree McBrayer scored 18 for Minnesota. Jordan Murphy added 15 points and 14 rebounds, and the Golden Gophers knocked out one of the Big Ten’s hottest teams after losing seven of 10.
Stevens led Penn State (14-18) with 24 points. Watkins had 14 points and seven rebounds, but the Nittany Lions took the loss after winning seven of 10.
Penn State was leading 59-51 with just under five minutes remaining in regulation when Minnesota went on an 8-0 run.
Coffey poked the ball away from Stevens and broke for a dunk to make it a two-point game before Jordan Murphy scored inside to tie it at 59-all with 1:17 to go.
Stevens scored in the post to put Penn State back on top with just under a minute left, but McBrayer quickly answered with a jumper to tie it again with 33 seconds to play.
Stevens missed a fade-away shot with nine seconds left in regulation. Murphy got the rebound, and Coffey missed a 3 off the back of the rim as time expired, sending the game to overtime.
Penn State: Though they couldn’t hang onto the lead in this one, the Nittany Lions finished the season on a strong note. They turned things around in a big way after going 0-8 in January.
Minnesota: The Gophers already were a safe bet to make the NCAA Tournament. With the win, they might have avoided a trip to Dayton for a play-in game.
Penn State: The season is likely over for the Nittany Lions.
Minnesota: The Gophers split two games with Purdue, losing on the road on Feb. 3 and winning at home last week.

Relieved Barr remains a Viking after uneasy pledge to Jets

By Dave Campbell
AP Pro Football Writer

EAGAN, Minn. (AP) — Anthony Barr slept for a mere two hours on Monday night, awakened at 3 a.m. by the angst of his decision about which team to pick in free agency.
His verbal commitment to join the New York Jets triggered immediate unease about leaving the Minnesota Vikings.
“I was up all morning just looking at my ceiling, just looking for a sign, talking to everybody, just trying to figure something out,” Barr said.
Fortunately for Barr and his conscience, the Vikings didn’t abandon their desire to retain the four-time Pro Bowl linebacker. They presented a contract offer that was more than sufficient to stay for, even if he’d be turning down a richer deal with the Jets. The league’s two-day negotiating window before contracts can be signed worked out rather well for him.
Barr got a five-year deal valued at $67.5 million, with $33 million in guaranteed money. The Vikings held a news conference for him and new defensive tackle Shamar Stephen on Thursday afternoon.
“This is where I wanted to be. This is my home. I’m embedded in the community. I do a lot of off-the-field work here. I love my teammates. I love this locker room. The culture we’ve developed over the last five years, it’s been awesome. The bonds I’ve made with my friends, my teammates and my coaches are unbreakable, and it just felt right,” Barr said. “This is where my heart was.”
Barr, who will turn 27 next week, was the first draft pick, ninth overall in 2014, the Vikings made under coach Mike Zimmer. Though the hard-nosed boss has occasionally prodded Barr to play with more relentlessness, Zimmer has become a big fan of the 6-foot-5, 255-pound player who has manned the strong side linebacker spot on one of the NFL’s best defenses over the last five seasons.
“No team we ever play is going to say, ‘Oh, we’re not going to worry about Anthony Barr,’” Zimmer said.
Zimmer played a part in the persuasion process. General manager Rick Spielman held onto some hope.
“You might as well keep swinging until you’re knocked out,” Spielman said.
Barr figured his first foray into free agency would be fun, but he wound up feeling the opposite.
“Monday was one of the worst days of my life, really,” he said.
As soon as he told his agent, Brian Murphy, he would take the offer from the Jets, Barr called his mother, Lori, and fessed up.
“I’m like, ‘I think I made a mistake.’ And she was like, ‘Well, you’ve got to fix it,’ and I was like, ‘All right,’” Barr said.
Murphy handled the business part, but Barr was left the bigger mess: his emotions.
“I was crying, laughing, sweating. The whole day was just crazy,” he said.
The enticement of the Jets wasn’t just more money. There was an allure too, Barr said, of being part of a rebuild.
“All the respect to the Jets organization, their coaching staff, but it’s just not what I really wanted,” he said. “I think initially I kind of jumped the gun, even though it was like a full day worth of conversation. I think I was trying to convince myself of something.”
Now Barr will be back with a coach he said he’d “go to war for” and an organization from the top down of people he can trust.
“We do have a really good team,” Barr said. “Money’s great, but you can’t be miserable coming in to work every day.”
The Vikings took one of the smallest amounts of salary cap space in the league into 2019, with about $5 million at the start of the week before the roster moves began. The Vikings sought a pay reduction from defensive end Everson Griffen, Spielman said, who agreed to a restructured deal that gave the team roughly $4 million in more room. Griffen, who has the same agent as Barr, could have been cut had he resisted the request.
“It was down to the wire,” Spielman said.

Gibson scores 25 as Wolves, without Towns, top Knicks 103-92

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Taj Gibson scored a season-high 25 points, Jeff Teague added 20 points and 10 assists, and the Minnesota Timberwolves beat the New York Knicks 103-92 on Sunday night despite playing without All-Star center Karl-Anthony Towns.
Rookie Keita Bates-Diop scored a career-high 18 points, while Tyus Jones added 13 and Dario Saric 11 for Minnesota, which has won six straight home games.
Damyean Dotson led New York with 26 points on 10-for-19 shooting. Allonzo Trier added 15, Dennis Smith Jr. and Kevin Knox each had 13, and Mitchell Robinson had eight points, 10 rebounds, and five blocks.
Minnesota was missing two of its top three scorers. Towns missed the game with right knee inflammation, while forward Andrew Wiggins sat out with a thigh contusion.
Meanwhile, Derrick Rose, the Wolves’ second-leading scorer, played just eight minutes, all in the first half, as coach Ryan Saunders chose to rest the veteran against the team with the NBA’s worst record.
The Knicks kept it close for 1 1/2 quarters, taking their last lead at 30-27 on Trier’s driving layup with 8:49 left in the half. But Minnesota answered with a quick 8-0 run that included a 3-pointer by Anthony Tolliver and Gibson’s dunk.
Teague drained a 30-footer to beat the halftime buzzer as Minnesota took a 55-45 lead into the break.
Knicks: Dotson topped the 20-point mark for the sixth time this season. . Robinson posted a block in his 24th straight game, the longest streak for a Knicks rookie since Patrick Ewing’s 28-game streak in 1985-86. . DeAndre Jordan, who is second in the NBA at 13.5 rebounds per game, finished with just two points and five boards in 15 minutes. . New York committed 19 turnovers, which Minnesota turned into 27 points.
Timberwolves: It was the first game Minnesota has played without either Towns or Wiggins since April 16, 2014. . Bates-Diop has started Minnesota’s last two games in place of Wiggins and has scored in double figures in both. . Gibson had 19 points and 10 rebounds against the Knicks with Towns absent on Feb. 22. . Minnesota is now 3-8 in the second game of back-to-backs but 3-0 at home.
Knicks: At Indiana on Tuesday.
Timberwolves: At Denver on Tuesday.

Barkov has team-record 5 assists, Panthers beat Wild

By Paul Gereffi
Associated Press

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — Aleksander Barkov set a franchise record with five assists, and MacKenzie Weegar and Mike Matheson each scored twice as the Florida Panthers beat the Minnesota Wild 6-2 on Friday night to snap a six-game losing streak.
Jonathan Huberdeau had a goal and three assists, Mike Hoffman also scored and Evgenii Dadonov added three assists. Sam Montembeault made 26 saves in his second career start for his first NHL win.
Marcus Foligno and J.T. Brown scored for the Wild, who had their eight-game point streak stopped. Devan Dubnyk allowed three goals on seven shots before he was replaced by Alex Stalock to start the second period. Stalock stopped 19 shots.
Florida stretched its lead to 5-1 when Matheson scored with a wrist shot from the right circle at 17:40 of the second period. The Wild answered 15 seconds later on Foligno’s tap-in.
Matheson’s second goal came on a wraparound at 10:23 of the third and made it 6-2.
Hoffman’s one-timer from the right circle during a 5-on-3 power play gave the Panthers a 4-0 lead at 3:34 of the second.
Brown deflected a shot by Jonas Brodin into the net to make it 4-1 at 9:02 of the second.
The Panthers took a 3-0 lead on seven shots in the first period. They went up 1-0 on Huberdeau’s goal 61 seconds in. Barkov passed from behind the net to Huberdeau in front and he skipped the puck into the net.
Weegar, who had one goal in 49 games this season, scored two in a span of 1:40.
His first goal gave the Panthers a 2-0 lead when his wrist shot from the point bounced off the back of Minnesota’s Ryan Suter and across the goal line at 16:51.
Weegar stretched it to 3-0 on his second goal, a shot from the top of the right circle that got past Dubnyk at 18:31.
A potential goal by Aaron Ekblad midway through the first period was disallowed after Minnesota successfully challenged for offside.
NOTES: Panthers G James Reimer returned after missing five games with a lower-body injury and backed up Montembeault. … Wild C Luke Kunin was scratched with an upper-body injury sustained in Thursday’s game at Tampa Bay. … Both teams were playing the second half of back-to-back games. The Wild won 3-0 at Tampa Bay and the Panthers lost 4-3 at Boston on Thursday.
Wild: Host the San Jose Sharks on Monday.
Panthers: Host the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday.

Cowan scores 21 as No. 24 Maryland beats Minnesota

By David Ginsburg
AP Sports Writer

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — Anthony Cowan scored 21 points, Jalen Smith had 19 points and 11 rebounds and No. 24 Maryland beat Minnesota 69-60 on Friday night to end the regular season in feel-good fashion following a two-game skid.
The Terrapins led by 12 at halftime, stretched the margin to 19 in the opening three minutes of the second half and went up 54-32 with 13 minutes left.
Bruno Fernando had 11 points and 11 rebounds to help Maryland (22-9, 13-7 Big Ten) avoid its first three-game losing streak of the season. The Terps were coming off a lopsided defeat at Penn State and their lone conference loss at home, versus Michigan.
Amir Coffey scored 23 points for Minnesota (19-12, 9-11). The Golden Gophers’ only lead was 2-0.
Limited to 10 points against Michigan, Cowan topped that with a 12-point first half against Minnesota. The junior guard finished with a team-high five assists and played 37 minutes.
Smith, a lanky 6-foot-10 freshman, just missed matching his career high of 21 points, set against Minnesota in 82-67 victory Jan. 8.
Maryland led 34-22 at halftime despite missing 11 of its final 12 shots.
Minnesota had more turnovers (8) than baskets (7) in the first half and was 2 for 14 from inside the arc.
The Terrapins led 9-6 before Smith drilled successive 3-pointers to ignite an 18-7 run. Smith added a dunk during the surge and Cowan capped it with a 3 from the top of the key.
Smith started the second half with two free throws and Cowan made a layup to launch a 9-2 spurt that made it 43-24.
Minnesota: The Golden Gophers are a different team on the road, a problem that is not unique in the Big Ten. Minnesota finished 13-3 at home and 2-9 on the road, including 2-8 in the conference.
Maryland: The Terrapins desperately needed a blowout victory to erase the bitter taste of the two games that preceded it. Coach Mark Turgeon can only hope this serves as a confidence boost heading into the Big Ten Tournament.
Coffey scored a combined 63 points in Minnesota’s previous two games, helping the Golden Gophers beat Northwestern and Purdue. In this one, however, he went 8 for 17 from the floor and struggled before scoring 17 over the final 9:34.
With only two upperclassmen on the squad, reserves Ivan Bender and Andrew Terrell, Senior Day at Maryland was expected to be rather uneventful.
Bender rewrote the script after being introduced in a pregame ceremony. The Bosnia native bent down on one knee and proposed to his girlfriend.
Though caught by surprise, Andrea Knezevic said yes.
Both teams open play Thursday in the Big Ten Tournament at the United Center in Chicago.