Looking to get back on track after the loss in Winnipeg, the Pens took a 2-1 lead in Minnesota after the second period. Chris Kunitz put Pittsburgh on the board just 46 seconds into the period. Kunitz deflected a clear attempt by the Wild defense, and Pascal Dupuis handled the deflection. Dupuis fed Kunitz who circled back for the shot, ripping it past Minnesota goalie Niklas Backstrom. It was the first goal of the season for Kunitz.
Pens forward Joe Vitale left the ice when he was caught in the mouth by Brad Staubitz. Staubitz was trying to field the puck on the boards but caught Vitale, who was bleeding from the mouth. It resulted in a double minor and the Pens first power play of the night.
Pittsburgh capitalized on the chance, when Jordan Staal slammed home a loose puck in front. Backstrom lost his stick on the play and was late to slide over and block the rebound on a shot from the point by Zbynek Michalek. Staal’s hard work in front would pay off to give Pittsburgh the 2-0 lead.
Minnesota would respond less than a minute later, when Cal Clutterbuck converted a shorthanded goal with Staubitz still in the box. The chance came when Dupuis fumbled the puck at the point. Dupuis is getting increased chances at the point tonight with the Pens roster so thin.
In addition to Vitale, Brian Strait, filling in for the suspended Kris Letang, was also banged up when he had his hand jammed into the boards playing a puck behind the net. Strait went off the ice favoring his left wrist.