Archive for Thursday, February 15, 2001

Lemieux scores 2 goals to answer Wild coach’s criticism

February 15, 2001

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— The expansion Minnesota Wild learned a valuable lesson sometimes, even the best defense isn't enough to stop Mario Lemieux.

Lemieux, responding to criticism from Minnesota coach Jacques Lemaire, scored twice in the third period and the Pittsburgh Penguins overcame their frustration with the Wild's neutral zone trap to win 2-1 Wednesday night.

The Wild, 4-2 winners Sunday over Pittsburgh in Minnesota, played conservatively at both ends of the rink, content to let the Penguins spend most of their time and energy trying to fight through the neutral zone.

The system worked for 2 1/2 periods as, despite being outshot 30-11 at the time, Minnesota led 1-0 until Lemieux scored at 7:30 of the third on an unguarded slap slot from the top of the slot.

Lemieux got the game-winner, and his 19th goal in 20 comeback games, with 4:35 to play, one-timing Jaromir Jagr's one-handed sweep pass from behind the net past Manny Fernandez from the far edge of the right circle. The shot apparently deflected off the skate of either Curtis Leschyshyn or Jim Dowd of the Wild.

"That was a key game for us, and it was a matter of just staying patient," Lemieux said.

Jagr's assist extended his scoring streak to 15 games, the longest in the NHL this season. He has at least one assist in each game of the streak, breaking Lemieux's club record of 14 consecutive games with an assist in 1986.

Until scoring the two goals, Lemieux was frustrated for most of the two games by the Wild's all-defensive style. At one point, he broke his stick as he came off the ice in disgust at failing to convert a scoring chance.

"It was frustrating, but we did have some quality scoring chances," Lemieux said. "We started going to the net hard, and that's what you have to do."

Lemieux was held scoreless Sunday, when he was critical of Minnesota's style by saying it wasn't what the NHL was trying to sell to fans. It was only the second time he had been shut out since ending his 3 1/2-year retirement in late December.

Lemaire responded angrily to Lemieux's remarks, saying he should have stayed retired if he expected nothing but breakaways and open ice.

Senators 3, Devils 2

East Rutherford, N.J. Martin Havlat and Marian Hossa scored first-period goals Wednesday night to pace Ottawa to victory over New Jersey in a showdown for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. Both teams entered with 70

Flyers 3, Islanders 1

Uniondale, N.Y. Mark Recchi and Simon Gagne each had a goal and assist as Philadelphia moved within two points of the Atlantic Division lead by beating the New York Islanders. Keith Primeau had two assists and Rick Tocchet also scored for the Flyers, who've won four of six games three against New York. Roman Cechmanek stopped 24 shots for his 22nd victory.

Panthers 4, Coyotes 3

Sunrise, Fla. Pavel Bure scored three times, giving him seven goals in two games, and Greg Adams got the game-winner against his former team as Florida beat Phoenix.

Red Wings 4, Hurricanes 3, OT

Detroit Sergei Fedorov's second goal, scored with 2:09 left in overtime, gave Detroit a come-from-behind victory over Carolina.

Blue Jackets 2,

Maple Leafs 2

Toronto Tyler Wright scored midway through the third period to give Columbus a tie with Toronto.

Sharks 7, Blackhawks 0

Chicago Scott Thornton made the most of his first game back from injured reserve with two goals and an assist as San Jose routed Chicago.

Stars 4, Kings 2

Dallas Mike Modano snapped a tie with 55.9 seconds left and also had two assists to become the leading scorer in Stars' history.

Capitals 4, Canucks 3

Vancouver, British Columbia Adam Oates scored twice, including the winner 4:19 into overtime.

Mighty Ducks 3, Oilers 3

Anaheim, Calif. Anaheim rallied twice from one-goal deficits.

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