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Minnesota goalie Niklas Backstrom stops the puck against Florida Panthers left wing Marco Sturm (16) and center Jerred Smithson (25) during the first period Thursday night at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. Genevieve Ross | Associated Press

Koivu's goal ices 3-2 Wild victory

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- Mikko Koivu split two defenders and beat former teammate Jose Theodore 15 seconds into overtime to give the Minnesota Wild a 3-2 victory over the Florida Panthers on Thursday night.

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Erik Christensen tied it for Minnesota with 31 seconds left in regulation.

Kyle Brodziak also scored for the Wild.

The Panthers, inching toward their first Atlantic Division title, are four points ahead of Washington Capitals with a game in hand and five to play. Tomas Fleischmann had a goal and an assist for Florida,

Scottie Upshall also scored, and Brian Campbell had two assists.

Florida suffered its third overtime loss in its last four games.

Niklas Backstrom stopped 25 shots for the Wild in his first game sustaining a groin injury March 1 at Montreal. His backup last season, Theodore, made 22 saves for the Panthers.

NOTES: Minnesota LW Jason Zucker, who agreed to a contract with the team Tuesday, made his NHL debut. Zucker was selected in the second-round (No. 59 overall) in the 2010 draft. ... The Wild hosted more than 30 former Minnesota North Stars players as part of an alumni reunion, including Neal Broten, Lou Nanne and Jack Carlson. All former North Stars in attendance were introduced before the game. ... Minnesota also honored the AHCA Division II national champion University of Wisconsin-Stout women's hockey team. ... Two of the Panthers' top college prospects, University of Minnesota forwards Kyle Rau and Nick Bjugstad, attended the game. ... Upshall is fifth among active players in goals per game against the Wild (minimum 15 games) with eight in 16 contests. Only Corey Perry (0.58 goals per game), Bobby Ryan (0.56), Johan Franzen (0.54) and Jerome Iginla (0.52) are higher.

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