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NHL: Minnesota 4, New Jersey 2

Dec. 2, 2011 at 10:46 PM

ST. PAUL, Minn., Dec. 2 (UPI) -- Kyle Brodziak put Minnesota in front during a three-goal outburst in the opening period Friday and the Wild went on to down New Jersey 4-2.

Minnesota won its third in a row and increased its Western Conference-leading point total to 35.

Zach Parise gave the Devils the early lead by scoring on a slap shot 2:54 into the contest. The Wild then ran off three unanswered goals to move in front.

Dany Heatley scored a mere 20 seconds after Parise's tally and Brodziak gave Minnesota the lead 3:41 later with the first of his two goals in the game. Casey Wellman finished off the first-period surge by scoring his first goal of the season and his third in 29 NHL games scattered over three years.

Wellman's goal drove New Jersey goaltender Martin Brodeur from the game. Brodeur gave up three scores on only four shots and was replaced by Johan Hedberg, who allowed a goal on 12 shots.

Ilya Kovalchuk brought New Jersey within one late in the first period and Minnesota held onto its 3-2 lead until Brodziak added some insurance with 3:36 to go in regulation.

Minnesota replaced starting goaltender Niklas Backstrom after he gave up two goals on nine shots. Josh Harding turned aside all 21 shots he faced.

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