OTTAWA – A goaltender making his NHL debut and a rookie looking for his first career goal came up big for the Ottawa Senators.
Erik Karlsson scored and Mike Brodeur picked up the win in his league debut Saturday night as the Senators defeated the Minnesota Wild 4-1.
Karlsson scored his first NHL goal when he took a pass from Alex Kovalev and fired a point shot through the legs of Wild netminder Niklas Backstrom, who made 20 saves, at 2:55 of the third period.
“It feels really good,” Karlsson said, adding that he didn’t see the puck go in the net but saw his teammates raise their sticks in celebration.
“I had two really good chances last game that I should have scored on but to get a goal like this is always good. I just have to keep shooting the puck and hope that more goals will go in.”
Karlsson also has five assists in 21 games with the Senators this season, that were split by a stint in the American Hockey League with the Binghamton Senators, where he had 11 assists in 12 games.
“He’s had a few little peaks and valleys but it’s more like two steps forward maybe one step back,” Senators coach Cory Clouston said.
“I think it’s important that he’s been able to recover if he’s had maybe an average outing.”
Shortly afterward Karlsson scored, Martin Havlat tipped a Nick Schultz shot right in front of Brodeur at 4:50 to break the goaltender’s shutout bid and snap the Senators home shutout streak at 122 minutes and 45 seconds. Brodeur finished with 22 saves.
“I got a few easy saves early to get me into the game and that’s the way I wanted it,” said Brodeur, whose fiancee made the drive from Binghamton for the game.
“I was thinking about it, but you can’t ask for a shutout. A win is good and I’ll take whatever I can get. It’s a dream come true to get that win. I don’t think I’ll be able to sleep tonight. I’m floating.”
Anton Volchenkov, Milan Michalek and Jarkko Ruutu also scored for the Senators (18-13-4) while Peter Regin had two assists.
The Wild (17-15-3) were battling both the flu bug and new equipment as all but nine Wild players had their gear partially of completely burned in a van fire outside Scotiabank Place Friday afternoon.
The team scrambled to get replacement equipment boarded on a plane that left the Twin Cities early Saturday morning headed to Ottawa.
“It’s not the way you want to prepare for a game, but the trainers did an unbelievable job to even make this game possible,” said Backstrom, who wasn’t using the hard luck as an excuse.
“That would be the easy way out to hide behind that. I didn’t play a good game, I don’t think as a team we played a good game. It would be easy to hide behind all those excuses but that’s not going to make us better.”
The Senators scored twice in the second period, once in the opening seconds and again in the dying minutes, to grab a 3-0 lead and take control of the game.
Michalek scored just 24 seconds into the period with a shot from the slot, and Ruutu jammed a loose puck past Backstrom with a little over two minutes left to play in the frame.
Volchenkov opened the scoring with a one-timer from the top of the face-off circle that beat Backstrom at 18:05 of the first period.
Notes: Mike Fisher recorded his 300th career point with his first-period assist while Jonathan Cheechoo recorded his 300th point with a second-period assist…The Senators are an Eastern-Conference best 13-4-3 at homeaThe Wild have recorded at least a point on 17 of their past 23 gamesathe Wild are 6-2-3 against the Eastern Conference this yearaWild forward Martin Havlat has played in 499 NHL games with Ottawa, Chicago and MinnesotaaWild defenceman Clayton Stoner picked up his first career point with a third-period assist.