NHL Game Summary - NY Islanders at Minnesota
(Friday, December 19th)
Final Score: Minnesota 4, NY Islanders 1
St. Paul, MN (Sports Network) - Colton Gillies' first NHL goal was the go- ahead tally in the third period, as the Minnesota Wild powered past the New York Islanders, 4-1, to snap a six-game losing streak.
Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Mikko Koivu and Stephane Veilleux each scored a goal for the Wild, who hadn't posted a victory since December 3 against St. Louis. The six-game string of losses was the longest in club history.
"It's a good feeling," Koivu said. "Of course, when you score a goal it creates confidence."
Niklas Backstrom faced just 16 shots, stopping 15 of them, in the win for the Wild.
Richard Park had the lone goal for the Islanders, whose losing streak reached eight games. Joey MacDonald was peppered with 39 shots, and he turned aside 35 in the loss.
In addition to suffering the loss, New York lost defenseman Andy Sutton, as he left the game with a broken foot.
"It hurts. It hurts a lot. Andy's had a solid year for us, he's our only plus player," Islanders forward Bill Guerin said of Sutton, who entered Friday's contest with a team-high plus-3 rating. "And that says a lot about what Andy brings to the table. He sacrifices his body all the time."
Down by one late in the second period, the Wild scored four consecutive goals, turning the game into a blowout in the process.
Veilleux knotted the game at 1-1 with his tally with less than a minute left in the middle frame, and Gillies gave Minnesota the edge shortly into the third thanks to an end-to-end play.
He intercepted a soft pass in his own zone, creating a Wild rush. Gillies skated from the right side of the ice to the left side, obtained the puck near the crease and threw it on net. The initial shot was stopped, but he jammed in the rebound for a 2-1 Minnesota lead at the 4:28 mark.
The Wild held that advantage until Koivu added some insurance. He held the puck, quickly burst past a defender in the left circle, and ripped a wrister into the upper right corner of the net with 7:50 left.
The Minnesota blitz continued, as just 2:24 later, Bouchard blasted a shot from the right side of the ice into the left side of the net for a 4-1 Wild lead, and they held on for the win from there.
In a scoreless first period, MacDonald made 11 saves, while Backstrom turned aside seven shots. Park's power-play tally at the 3:28 mark of the second period gave the Islanders the lead.
Minnesota plays at St. Louis on Saturday...New York travels to Nashville on Saturday for a game against the Predators...The Isles' were 1-for-5 on the power play, while the Wild went 0-for-4.
12/20 00:05:42 ET