By Anthony Maggio
PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
ST. PAUL, Minnesota (Ticker) — Rookie Colton Gillies picked a
good time for his first career goal.
Gillies snapped a tie early in the third period, lifting the
Minnesota Wild a 4-1 victory over the New York Islanders on
Selected 16th overall in 2007 by the Wild, Gillies had been a
healthy scratch in 11 of his previous 14 games and hadn’t scored
a point since November 1.
But the 19-year-old snapped a 1-1 tie at 4:28 of the third
period, converting a rebound after an Islanders’ turnover led to
a 3-on-2 rush for Minnesota.
“I was speechless, it was awesome,” Gillies said. “I think the
guys just needed a little bit of a confidence boost. I mean, if
I can score, they can certainly score, right?”
Mikko Koivu and Pierre-Marc Bouchard added insurance goals and
Niklas Backstrom stopped 15 shots to help the Wild snap a
franchise-worst six-game winless streak (0-5-1).
“It’s always fun,” Koivu said. “I’m sure it will give
confidence to Colton. When you see guys that happy on your own
team it makes us happy, and for every guy he gave a smile for us
Stephane Veilleux ended a 12-game goal-less streak to tie the
game with 57 seconds left in the middle session.
Former Wild Richard Park scored the lone goal for the Islanders,
who have not picked up a win in December. New York posted an
0-7-1 record this month.
“Turnovers. It’s as simple as that,” Islanders coach Scott
Gordon said. “Turnovers and decisions not to shoot the puck.
We have opportunities on entries to get the puck to the net and
we’re consistently looking for the late guy.
“(The Wild) are a team we can learn lessons from in that one
thing they don’t do is beat themselves. There’s too many times
those turnovers came right back at us.”
Joey MacDonald had 34 saves for New York, but fell to 0-6-1 in
his last seven starts.
“We started the game and could’ve scored four or five goals in
the first period, but (MacDonald) was on top of his game,” Wild
coach Jacques Lemaire said. “I could see the difference when we
got two goals, and Mikko’s goal made a huge difference. We
played a lot better, it was like everyone had a hundred pounds
off their shoulders.”
After a scoreless first period, Park notched his third goal in
as many games at 3:28 of the second to give New York the lead.
Park buried the chance from the crease on assists from Doug
Weight and Mark Streit with the Islanders on a two-man
It was one of only three shots for New York in the second
period, but MacDonald held the lead while being peppered until
Veilleux finally broke through.
“We didn’t play very well tonight,” said New York’s Kyle Okposo,
who is a Minnesota native. “It’s obviously frustrating for all
the guys. We just have to stay on course, keep playing at