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Nolan, Wild halt skid against Red Wings

ST. PAUL, Minnesota (Ticker) -- Owen Nolan had two goals and an

assist as the Minnesota Wild snapped a three-game losing streak

with a 5-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday.

Pierre-Marc Bouchard scored and registered an assist and

defenseman Martin Skoula also tallied for the Wild, who avenged

a 4-2 loss at Detroit on February 12.

"Tonight, we made some plays. We made better plays, had good

shots on net," Minnesota coach Jacques Lemaire said.

Tomas Kopecky and Ville Leino scored for Detroit. The loss was

just the third in the last 11 games for the Red Wings (8-2-1).

Nolan scored both goals in the opening 8:15 of the first period

as Minnesota jumped in front early and did not look back.

"It wasn't just a couple of guys, everybody got it going,"

Skoula said. "A great team effort. We had a good start, good

first 20 minutes. And the biggest thing is that we didn't relax

and played a full 60 minutes."

After Kopecky cut the deficit in half early in the second, the

Wild beat Jimmy Howard for a pair of goals late in the period to

build a three-goal advantage. Bouchard tallied with 2:47 left

in the session and Skoula scored his first goal of the season

1:31 later for a 4-1 lead.

"It's always big to go in with a lead in the third period,"

Mikko Koivu said. "If its three goals or one goal, it's a big

difference. At the same time, the start of the third period was

important, that we could not just keep a lead, but keep playing

and put pressure on them."

Niklas Backstrom stopped 35 shots, including several in the

final minutes of the third period and Stephane Veilleux netted

an empty-net goal with 1.8 seconds left to conclude the scoring.

Minnesota went 4-3-1 during an eight-game stretch that saw it

play seven times at home. The Wild will not be seeing home ice

often over the next month as they open a stretch of 15 of its

next 19 contests on the road at Chicago on Sunday.

"It's huge," Skoula said of the win. "Especially going into

Chicago tomorrow. Coming into March, with all the games on the

road, it was a big win today."

The Wild were in need of a win as they attempt to stay in

contention in the crowded Western Conference. They currently

sit one point behind Anaheim for eighth in the West.

"I thought they won more battles than we did in the early going

of the game," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. "We won lots of

battles and had lots of opportunities as the game went on, but

we were already behind the eight-ball."

Leino made the score 4-2 with 5:15 left in the contest, but

Backstrom shut the door from there and Veilleux found the empty

net before the final buzzer sounded.

Howard stopped 24 shots for Detroit after being called up from

Grand Rapids of the AHL on Thursday.

"It definitely didn't go as planned," Howard said of season

debut. "In the end, I'm going to take some good things out of

this game. I wish I could have done more with the opportunity I

received here, but I still believe in myself and still think I

am going to be an NHL goalie one day."

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