Three-goal second period leads Wild past Hurricanes

ST. PAUL, Minnesota (Ticker) — Stephane Veilleux’s shorthanded
goal late in the second period proved to be the game-winner as
the Minnesota Wild scored three times in the session and
overcame a two-goal deficit en route to a 3-2 triumph over the
Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday.

Marian Gaborik scored on the power play and rookie Cal
Clutterbuck also tallied for the Wild, who scored at least three
goals for just the second time in nine games.

“I just kind of drive to the net and hope to get a rebound,”
Veilleux said of the shorthanded chance. “(I) got a little

Niklas Backstrom made 13 of his 35 saves in the third period,
including a number of stops during a 2:08 two-man advantage
early in the session, sparking a rousing ovation from the home

“It was unbelievable,” Backstrom said. “I was talking to the
guys, we’ve never experienced anything like that, not even in
the playoffs. It was huge.”

The Hurricanes held a big advantage in scoring chances in the
first and third, but the Wild only needed the second 20 minutes
to earn the win.

“We generated a whole lot of shots,” Carolina head coach Paul
Maurice said. “(Backstrom) made some great saves and I thought
he was the difference for them in the game.”

After Gaborik tied the game, 2-2, following Mikko Koivu’s second
assist of the game, Veilleux scored the go-ahead goal 10 minutes
later with Carolina on the man-advantage.

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Eric Belanger’s shot was stopped by goaltender Michael Leighton,
but Veilleux was there to finish off the rebound for his fourth
tally of the season.

The Hurricanes held a 37-23 edge in shots on goal, including
23-10 combined in the first and third periods. They were unable
to take advantage of four Wild penalties despite a furious rush
during the two-man advantage in the third.

“I think always, if you can kill a 3-on-5 – especially for that
long – it’s very important,” Koivu said. “And you need a solid
goaltender to do that.”

Following a four-minute high sticking penalty on Krystofer
Kolanos, Antti Miettinen was whistled for hooking 1:52 later.
But Backstrom was up to the task as Minnesota won consecutive
home games for the first time in over a month.

“We need to get back to our game, we need to play with
confidence, we need to cut down our mistakes,” Wild head coach
Jacques Lemaire said.

“We need to be a better team, that’s what we need to be. And
hopefully Christmas doesn’t spoil that win.”

Captain Rod Brind’Amour and Ray Whitney had a goal and an assist
apiece for Carolina.

Gaborik and Koivu added assists on Clutterbuck’s goal just 4:17
into the second.