The New Jersey Devils got a gift goal, but still couldn’t win.
Kaapo Kahkonen made 32 saves in his NHL debut, defenseman Ryan Suter scored the winner early in the third period and the suddenly hot Minnesota Wild beat the Devils 3-2 on Tuesday night at Prudential Center in Newark in a game the NHL said New Jersey got credit for a goal that should not have counted.
Zach Parise and Jordan Greenway also scored as the Wild extended their point-scoring streak to seven games (4-0-3).
Jesper Boqvist scored the disputed goal and Kyle Palmieri tallied on a power play as the Devils continued to alternate good games and bad games. Louis Domingue, making his second straight start, had 26 saves.
On the game-winner, Ryan Hartman won a faceoff and Ryan Donato found Suter in the left circle for a rocket over Domingue 3:00 into the period.
While the Wild were protecting the lead, the NHL issued a statement saying Boqvist’s earlier goal should not have counted because the referees failed to uphold a challenge by Wild coach Bruce Boudreau against Wayne Simmonds playing the puck with a high stick before the goal.
It didn’t matter. The Wild, who blew third-period leads in their last two games, held on.
The Wild took leads in each of the first two periods only to see the Devils tie the score.
Parise, who helped the Devils reach the Stanley Cup Final in 2012, gave Minnesota a 1-0 lead 5:30 after the opening faceoff by tipping a power-play shot by Suter past Domingue. It came 4 seconds after Blake Coleman was penalized.
Boqvist tied it with his first NHL goal as his shot from the top of the right circle appeared to hit of the stick of Minnesota center Luke Kunin. Boudreau didn’t challenge the goal. He challenged Simmonds playing the puck in center ice with a high stick and then playing it in the offensive zone.
Referees Brad Meier and Mitch Dunning looked at the videotape and ruled it a good goal at 12:44.
“Since New Jersey’s Wayne Simmonds high sticked the puck in the neutral zone and then played the puck in the attacking zone, a missed game stoppage event occurred,” the league said in a statement released during the third period. “Minnesota’s challenge should have resulted in the New Jersey goal being disallowed.”
Greenway scored on a breakaway midway through the second period to put the Wild back in front.
A little more than three minutes later, Palmieri scored his ninth of the season, redirecting a cross-ice, power-play pass by Taylor Hall into an open net.