A depleted Penguins team responded on the road in Minnesota on Tuesday night, defeating the Wild 4-2 on the second night of back-to-back road games. It was an impressive rebound from the Monday night loss to the previously winless Winnipeg Jets.
With the score 2-1, the Penguins extended their lead on the sharpshot of James Neal. Neal rifled a low wrister past Wild goalie, Nicklas Backstrom, for the two goal lead. It was Neal’s sixth goal of the season, evening him with Toronto’s Phil Kessel for the early season league lead.
Pascal Dupuis would add to lead, converting a shorthanded chance with Jordan Staal in the box. Dupuis went to his patented backhand to slide the puck past Backstrom on the breakaway. Guillaume Latendresse would respond for the Wild less than a minute later to cut the lead to two, but netminder Brent Johnson would hold it there. Johnson had a scare midway through the period, going down on the ice and calling for the trainer. Johnson apparently got sick but he would remain in the game and seal the 4-2 win.
With so many injuries in addition to the Letang suspension, it was a huge win for the Penguins, avoiding what would have been their fourth loss in a row. They return home, looking for healthy bodies, and face the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night.