SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — Tim Thomas and the Florida Panthers were eager to end their losing streak.
Brad Boyes and Jonathan Huberdeau scored in a shootout, lifting Florida over the Minnesota Wild 2-1 on Saturday night to snap a three-game skid.
Thomas made 31 saves for his first win since a 4-2 victory in the season opener at Dallas on Oct. 3.
“That’s exactly what I told the team before the game: ‘I’m tired of losing.’ And everyone else agreed that they were, too,” said Thomas, who made his second start since missing four games with a groin injury.
Boyes’ backhander went through the legs of goalie Josh Harding for the winner. Huberdeau beat Harding on the stick side for the first shootout goal, and the Panthers got a much-needed two points.
“It was huge. To get the power-play goal, too,” Huberdeau said. “I think we did everything tonight, that’s why we found a way to win the two points.”
Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu were turned aside by Thomas in the shootout. Aleksander Barkov scored in regulation for Florida.
“We needed a win and we’ll take it any way we can get it,” Thomas said. “We won it in a shootout, but we earned that win through hard work.”
Jonas Brodin scored for Minnesota, and Harding stopped 21 shots. The Wild lost their third straight and managed two or fewer goals for the seventh time this season.
“I’m disappointed for our guys. They’re playing their tails off,” coach Mike Yeo said. “We’re playing great defensively, generating chances, but we’re not winning games. It’s in their heads a little bit. You can see it on the 5-on-3, you can see it in the shootout.”
The Panthers tied it 1-all with a power-play goal at 6:49 of the third. Tomas Fleischmann took a pass from Brian Campbell at the top of the right circle, and Fleischmann’s slap shot was deflected into the net by Barkov.
Minnesota had a 5-on-3 for 1:19 midway through the third period, but the Panthers killed off both penalties.
“If you don’t score, you don’t deserve to win,” Parise said. “That’s the game right there.”
Each team also had a 5-on-3 in the first period but didn’t score.
The Wild took a 1-0 lead on Brodin’s power-play goal in the second. His slap shot from the point was deflected by Florida’s Jesse Winchester and past Thomas at 4:05. It was the 10th power-play goal for the Wild this season.
NOTES: Thomas lost 3-2 on Thursday to the Boston Bruins, his former team. … Panthers C Nick Bjugstad, a 2010 prep Mr. Minnesota hockey winner, faced his hometown team for the first time. … Minnesota LW Dany Heatley’s second-period assist was his second point this season. He has no goals in nine games. … Wild D Keith Ballard was scratched with a head injury.
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