Gaborik helps Wild bag first victory
St. Paul, Minn. It was only fitting that the Minnesota Wild's first-ever draft pick helped the franchise earn its initial victory.
Eighteen-year-old Marian Gaborik scored twice in the final 2:28 Wednesday night as the Wild beat the Tampa Bay Lightning, 6-5, in the team's sixth game.
"I'm glad for Marian, especially because the last couple of days, we kept him on the ice (after practice) to work a little harder," coach Jacques Lemaire said. "It's nice to see him rewarded."
Gaborik scored 3:05 after Alexander Kharitonov tied it at 4. Gaborik took a pass from Filip Kuba and backhanded it past Kevin Weekes.
Gaborik added an empty-net goal with 57.6 seconds left, which was the final margin after Frederik Modin scored for the Lightning with 11.3 seconds remaining to cut the margin to 6-5.
Jim Dowd and Scott Pellerin had three assists for the Wild, who took advantage of Tampa Bay's special-teams breakdown to score four goals in the second period.
The Lightning hadn't given up a power-play goal in 26 chances coming into the game, but in the second period the Wild were perfect on two power-play chances and scored a short-handed goal.
Maxim Sushinsky had two goals for the second straight game.
Gaborik, who played last year in the Slovakian senior league, is tied with Sushinsky for the team lead with four goals.
"It's sick," Wild goalie Jamie McLennan said. "He's 18 years old and he's a player right now and he's just getting better and better. It's scary to think how good he's going to be when he's 25."
Gaborik, in his typically subdued manner, just seemed relieved that his goals gave the Wild their first win.
"I think that when we play like this, we can be successful," he said. "I'm very happy that I scored a goal. It was an important goal."
Coyotes 2, Panthers 1, OT
Phoenix Joe Juneau scored 1:15 into overtime, and the Phoenix Coyotes, notorious for fast starts and playoff flops, set a record for the best six-game start in franchise history by beating Florida.
Canucks 4, Flames 1
Vancouver, British Columbia Felix Potvin stopped 21 shots and Markus Naslund scored his sixth goal of the season as Vancouver won tis third straight game. Potvin recorded his second win of the season as the Canucks improved to 5-2.
Stars 2, Sharks 1
Dallas Rookie Tyler Bouck scored his first NHL goal early in the third period and Dallas hung on for its third straight victory, beating San Jose. Bouck's rebound with 18:21 left.
Hurricanes 3, Penguins 2
Pittsburgh Martin Gelinas and Rob DiMaio scored in a 35-second span of the second period as Carolina ended Pittsburgh's three-game winning streak..
Avalanche 5, Blue Jackets 1
Columbus, Ohio David Aebischer turned away 20 shots in his first NHL start and Peter Forsberg had two goals as Colorado remained unbeaten with a victory over Columbus.
Rangers 4, Blackhawks 2
Chicago Valeri Kamensky had a goal and an assist and Kirk McLean made 38 saves as the New York Rangers snapped a two-game losing streak.