Stars overcome Bishop's injury in 4-1 win against Wild

Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk, center, stops a shot as Dallas Stars' Blake Comeau, right, looks for a rebound in the first period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, March 14, 2019, in St. Paul, Minn. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Dallas Stars goalie Ben Bishop, top, jumps to avoid teammate John Klingberg, bottom left, of Sweden, as Minnesota Wild's Luke Kunin, right, crashes into Klingberg during the first period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, March 14, 2019, in St. Paul, Minn. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Dallas Stars' Alexander Radulov, right, of Russia, is congratulated by Esa Lindell, left, of Finland, and Jamie Benn after scoring an empty-net goal against the Minnesota Wild in the third period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, March 14, 2019, in St. Paul, Minn. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Minnesota Wild's Eric Staal, center, is squeezed between Dallas Stars goalie Anton Khudobin, left, and Miro Heiskanen, of Finland, as he tried to position himself in the second period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, March 14, 2019, in St. Paul, Minn. Khudobin replaced starting goalie Ben Bishop in the second period. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk, left, stops a scoring attempt by Dallas Stars' Tyler Seguin in the third period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, March 14, 2019, in St. Paul, Minn. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk, left, stops a wraparound shot attempt by Dallas Stars' Alexander Radulov, right, of Russia, in the third period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, March 14, 2019, in St. Paul, Minn. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Dallas Stars goalie Ben Bishop, right, stops a shot by Minnesota Wild's Jordan Greenway, left, as Stars' Taylor Fedun, second from left, defends in the first period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, March 14, 2019, in St. Paul, Minn. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Dallas Stars goalie Anton Khudobin makes a glove-save against the Minnesota Wild in the third period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, March 14, 2019, in St. Paul, Minn. Khudobin entered the game in the second period after starting goalie Ben Bishop left after the first period with a lower body injury. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

ST. PAUL, Minn. — With a record-setting run by goalie Ben Bishop, the Dallas Stars have surged forward in the Western Conference race.

They proved in Minnesota they're plenty capable of winning without him, too.

Radek Faksa, Roope Hintz and Joel L'Esperance scored in a span of 2:22 early in the second period, and the Stars hung on to beat the Wild 4-1 on Thursday night after Bishop got hurt.

Anton Khudobin stopped 14 of the 15 shots he faced in relief of Bishop, who made seven saves and established a franchise best by stretching his scoreless streak to 240:53 before exiting with a lower-body injury.

"Obviously we didn't want to see Bish leave the game, but we've got all the confidence in the world in Doby, and it didn't faze us at all," captain Jamie Benn said.

Alexander Radulov added an empty-netter for the Stars, who have won six of their last seven games — five in regulation. Khudobin, who's on his sixth team in 10 years in the NHL, has given the Stars a solid tandem this season. Bishop missed five games with a lower-body injury in November and six games with an upper-body injury in February, so Khudobin has not lacked for action.

Stars coach Jim Montgomery declined to speculate on when Bishop could return.

"If he doesn't get hurt, maybe he gets another shutout, I don't know," Montgomery said. "The goal that went in, he's big, and it probably doesn't go anywhere, right? But Khudobin makes saves he can't. That's why they make a great duo."

Jason Zucker had the only goal for the Wild, who took another hit in the Western Conference wild-card race with their third straight loss. They're in ninth place with 74 points and 11 games to go, trailing Arizona by three points for the final spot.

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.

"I loved the way we played," Montgomery said.

The opposite sentiment was expressed down the hall. Wild coach Bruce Boudreau refrained from sharing much insight with reporters, holding back to avoid "ripping players." They offered plenty of their own critiques, though.

"It's got to come from leadership and guys playing the right way and holding guys accountable," left wing Marcus Foligno said. "Right now we're just letting things slip away. I wish I had the answers."

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, 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 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, 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 and captain and center Mikko Koivu. Throw the standings into the equation, and this matchup became one of the Wild's most important games of the month. They fell flat again, falling to 1-6-3 in their last 10 home games since Jan. 19.

"It's not a matter of nobody wants to," left wing Zach Parise said. "It's just out of sync."

NOTES: Zucker has seven goals in 10 games. ... Tyler Seguin, who assisted on Hintz's goal, has 32 points in 28 career games against the Wild. ... Minnesota's Luke Kunin (upper body) returned from a two-game absence, but fellow center Joel Eriksson Ek (lower body) was scratched. ... L'Esperance skated in his 11th NHL game.

UP NEXT

Stars: Return to Dallas to start a five-game homestand, beginning with the Vegas Golden Knights on Friday night.

Wild: Host the New York Rangers on Saturday night.

___

More AP NHL coverage: https://apnews.com/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

People also read these

Danger matches Tuesday for Djokovic, Williams at...

Jan 16, 2017

Not much room for error: Serena Williams, in search of her 23rd Grand Slam singles win, and 2016...

Murray, Federer advance to 3rd round at...

Jan 18, 2017

Top-ranked Andy Murray hurts his right ankle in a 6-3, 6-0, 6-2 win over No. 156-ranked Andrey...

Tough at the top: Murray, Kerber make 4th-round...

Jan 22, 2017

It was tough at the top for Andy Murray and Angelique Kerber at the Australian Open, with both the...

With favorites out, Raonic has opening for slam...

Jan 23, 2017

Not every tennis player quotes from Goethe on Twitter, keeps a journal and visits art exhibitions...

Venus Williams, Federer back in the thick of a...

Jan 24, 2017

For all their Grand Slam successes, Venus Williams and Roger Federer still find themselves...

Get your 24-hour live updates here in Ultimate Sports Daily. We deliver content from all regions so that you won’t miss out on any single event.

Contact us: sales[at]ultimatesportsdaily.com