ST. PAUL, Minn. - As long as Jacques Lemaire coaches the Minnesota Wild, defencemen will usually be discouraged from playing up in the other team's zone.
Brent Burns is the exception.
Burns scored 2:34 into overtime to lift the Wild to a 4-3 victory Saturday night over the Islanders, New York's seventh straight defeat. The goal was the 10th of the season for Burns.
Brian Rolston had two goals for the Wild, who were outshot 29-18 and were caught out of blue-line position too many times for Lemaire's liking.
"We made a lot of mistakes like that," the coach said. "Burnsie is different. Burns has the potential to skate, to come back, and he's got a good touch when the puck's at the other net. If you do go offence and you get the points, I'm fine with that."
Burns, who played a bit as a forward earlier in his career before settling as a defenseman, has three overtime winners in his career.
Sean Bergenheim's goal with 4:05 remaining in the third period gave the Islanders a 3-2 lead and helped them pick up their first standings point since a victory at Carolina on Jan. 22. They dropped the next six in regulation.
But Rolston came back with a deft corral of Mikko Koivu's rebound to tie the game 41 seconds later.
"It came off pretty hot, but I just got it with my knee pad and just batted it in," said Rolston, the Wild's second-leading scorer who has seven goals in eight games.
Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro was caught out of position, but Rolston didn't fault him.
"He played a pretty good game," Rolston said.
Kurtis Foster also scored for Minnesota. Bill Guerin and Andy Hilbert had goals for New York, and Mike Comrie notched two assists.
"We're definitely not happy with the result, but the game itself: I don't know how much better we could play. Our guys gave what they have," Islanders coach Ted Nolan said.
The Wild have had a tenuous hold on first place in the deep Northwest Division for the past two-plus weeks. Since starting the season 7-0-1, however, they haven't been able to build sustained momentum.
After losing in overtime to NHL-leading Detroit on Tuesday and dropping a 1-0 dud to second-in-the-NHL Dallas on Thursday, the Wild needed to recharge before beginning a three-game road trip.
"We're going in confident and know we can play the best of teams," rookie James Sheppard said.
The Islanders should have been just the opponent for the revival. They were outscored 23-8 over the previous six games and have the fewest goals in the league.
Welcoming Miroslav Satan back from a knee injury that kept him out of Thursday's game against Pittsburgh, the Islanders applied plenty of pressure and kept goalie Niklas Backstrom busy.
"It's a good point, but it should've been two," Guerin said. "We played well tonight. I thought we played hard, but we've got to finish the job."
Guerin scored his team-high 19th goal, after going eight games without one and just one assist, after a nifty shot fake by Comrie drew the defence and allowed a passing lane across the slot.
With the Wild leading 2-1, Backstrom was caught out of position while Guerin took the puck behind the net and fed Hilbert 27 seconds into the third.
Backstrom made a sprawling kick save on a breakaway by Jeff Tambellini later in the period, but later let in Bergenheim's goal.
DiPietro was screened on the first two goals and didn't flinch when they went in. Foster scored on a first-period slap shot, and Rolston knocked in Sheppard's shot with his skate in the second.
"It went through two sets of legs. When things are going bad, usually that happens against you," Nolan said.
Due to the NHL's recent move to an unbalanced, division-focused schedule, this was the first time the Islanders played at Minnesota since December 2002. Mark Parrish, now with the Wild, scored twice in that 4-2 victory for New York after DiPietro was called up from the minors the day before.
The unfamiliarity with the Islanders, Lemaire said, might have bred in the Wild an overconfidence that prompted their defencemen to play up so much.
Notes: The Wild activated D Sean Hill from the injured list and used him for the first time in 11 games since he sprained an ankle on Jan. 11. Hill was with the Islanders last season. ... Faceoff was two hours earlier than usual for "Hockey Day Minnesota," a made-for-TV event that began in the morning with an outdoor high school game on Baudette Bay about six hours north of the Twin Cities. Two other varsity contests and the University of Minnesota's game at Denver were also part of the 16-hour broadcast on regional cable. ... Parrish, now with his hometown team, returned to the Wild lineup from a two-game absence following a concussion he sustained on his 31st birthday last weekend.