Skip to main content

Gaborik helps Wild snap road skid

UNIONDALE, New York (AP) -- Marian Gaborik and the Minnesota

Wild escaped Long Island with two important points, no new

injuries, and a calling card for the young and physical New York

Islanders.

Gaborik, playing just his third game after missing three months

following hip surgery, had two goals and two assists, Andrew

Brunette and Owen Nolan each scored once and set up two others,

and the Wild beat the Islanders 6-2 on Wednesday night to snap a

five-game road losing streak.

Outside of the key win that kept Minnesota in the thick of the

Western Conference playoff race, much of the talk was about the

Islanders, who featured a lineup of guys trying to make it in

the NHL that took every chance to hit and rough up the Wild.

"They tried to run us out of the building, but our guys kept

coming," Wild coach Jacques Lemaire said of the Islanders, who

took 13 of the 23 penalties. "It'll be interesting next year

when we play them."

Things got so out of hand in the third period that the teams

played 3-on-3 for a stretch.

"I think it goes back 40 years ago when I was playing," said

Lemaire, a 10-time Stanley Cup winner with the Montreal

Canadiens. "I was like numb. I didn't know what to tell them

because we never play 3-on-3."

After the Wild fell behind 1-0, Gaborik and Antti Miettinen

connected in the first period to give Minnesota the lead.

Nolan's power-play goal in the second made it 3-1, and

defenseman Martin Skoula pushed the advantage to three in the

third for the Wild, who earned a road victory for the first time

since they beat Anaheim on March 8.

Minnesota jumped over St. Louis and tied ninth-place Nashville

with 78 points in the West. The Wild were 2-7-2 in their

previous 11 road games - averaging only two goals per contest.

Brunette and Gaborik added third-period goals as the Wild

matched a season-high with six. Niklas Backstrom made 32 saves.

"We had to get this game no matter what and just do our job

defensively and make sure that we're disciplined," Gaborik said.

"There were some players running around, but that's what it is."

The Islanders (24-41-8), closing in on clinching the NHL's worst

record, got goals from defenseman Bruno Gervais and Andy Hilbert

in their first home game following a 2-3-1 road trip. New York

had been 9-2-2 at home before then. Yann Danis stopped 22 shots.

"It's a team that really has got nothing to play for so you have

guys going out there kind of not really caring if they take

stupid penalties at stupid times," Wild forward Cal Clutterbuck

said. "That's what they did and it cost them. It's a good thing

nobody got hurt."

Gaborik tied it at 1 at 11:46 of the first with his second goal

in two nights. After missing 38 games, Gaborik has three goals

in three games.

It is much-needed offense for the defensive-minded Wild, who

were again without captain and leading scorer Mikko Koivu,

sidelined by a knee injury. Gaborik scored his first of the

night by redirecting Marek Zidlicky's pass in front.

Minnesota needed only 10 seconds of its second power play to

grab the lead. New York's Joel Rechlicz, who earlier fought John

Scott, was off for roughing when Miettinen made it 2-1 with 1

minute left in the first.

The period ended roughly near the tunnel to the Wild's dressing

room. Miettinen hit Blake Comeau as a security guard prematurely

opened the door, and Islanders forward Kyle Okposo jumped in.

The fracas created only a pair of roughing penalties, but Okposo

- a Minnesota native - yelled at Clutterbuck on the Wild bench

as he was led off the ice.

"They did some lippy stuff that I let get to me more than I

should have," Okposo said. "That's my fault. I've got to work on

that. He is an agitator and he did his job. That's what he does.

He goes out and hits and runs his mouth."

Gervais, who had gone 160 games and nearly three years without a

goal before he scored on March 2, found the net for the third

time in 11 games to give the Islanders a 1-0 lead at 7:37.

The rest of the game belonged to the Wild. One night after

Minnesota recorded three shots in the first frame and 19 overall

in a 2-1 loss to the New York Rangers, the playoff hopefuls

fired 11 pucks at Danis in the opening 20 minutes.

Hilbert brought the Islanders to 4-2 at 6:24 of the third

period, but Brunette restored Minnesota's three-goal lead with

3:49 left. Gaborik scored his sixth of the season on the power

play with 1:17 remaining to make it 6-2.

TOP HEADLINES

Rasmus Dahlin
Play

NHL Hot Seat Radar: Buffalo Sabres

Consistency has been an issue for Rasmus Dahlin in his career. The talent is clearly there, but now it's time to show his potential on a nightly basis.

USATSI_18095528

Golden Knights Sign Roy to Five-Year Extension

The Vegas Golden Knights have signed forward Nicolas Roy to a five-year contract extension.

Cody Glass

Prospect Pool Overview: Nashville Predators

The Nashville Predators have an intriguing prospect pool, featuring one of the best goalie prospects in the world and a few young players that could make impacts quite soon. Tony Ferrari took a deep look at the team's future.