for this game

Wild break long dry spell on road vs. Blue Jackets

Dec 9, 2007 - 5:48 AM
By Dave Holstein PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Ticker) -- For a team coming off its worst loss of the season, there may be no more satisfying win for the Minnesota Wild than one at Nationwide Arena.

Brian Rolston scored the winning goal early in the third period and Niklas Backstrom made 31 saves as the Wild edged the Blue Jackets, 2-1, on Saturday to win in Columbus for the first time in over five years.

Coming off a 5-0 beating in Detroit on Friday, Minnesota's outlook appeared bleak against Columbus, a team it had not beaten on the road since January 18, 2002.

"It's been a long time," Wild coach Jacques Lemaire said. "That's why it's nice, because we do not win here too often. We were good until the end."

"Tonight, we played about 12 minutes of the way we have to play," Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock said. "That's what happens when you put skill ahead of work. We have been guilty of that for a couple of nights now, and tonight it caught up with us."

Rolston snapped a 1-1 tie at 2:22 of the third with a hard slap shot from the top of the left faceoff circle that beat goaltender Pascal Leclaire high inside the near goalpost.

"It was a bomb," Rolston said. "That's what it was. It was a perfect example of putting the puck on the net. I knew there were people there. It was my first shot on the net, and it only takes one.

"I just came off the wall and wanted to get it off the net. I think it went off one of their defensemen in front, which is good luck. It was a hard-fought win after getting completely outplayed last night."

Rolston has seven goals and 11 assists in 16 career games against Columbus.

Backstrom handled it from there, turning aside a number of shots in the final minutes as the Blue Jackets desperately attempted to tie the game. The 29-year-old Finnish netminder improved to 32-3-3 when his team has led at any point in the game.

"It was a big win after last night," Backstrom said. "I think the team had a tough time to play here. I think it's the first win in nine games here, so it's a big win, for sure. It's good to get the big win for the team. Everyone played great in front of me, and I felt good and was able to see the pucks."

"He played great," Columbus captain Adam Foote said of Backstrom. "But so did Pazzy (Leclaire). I don't want to take anything away from Backstrom, but we just have to get more guys to the net and get some greasy goals."

Minnesota got on the board first at 13:51 of the opening period, when Marian Gaborik controlled the puck off the wall near center ice and passed to Pavol Demitra, who skated in unimpeded from the right wing. Demitra then slipped a pass through the crease to Aaron Voros, who punched it in for his fifth goal of the campaign.

"It was a great pass," Voros said. "I was just trying to get to the net hard and was able to get my stick on the puck and put it in. It was a big goal. It gave us the lead, and we seem to play pretty good when we get the lead, so it was important."

Demitra's assist was his 32nd point in 28 career contests vs. the Blue Jackets.

The Blue Jackets, who fell to 8-4-3 at home this season, evened it 52 seconds into the middle session. Jason Chimera set up Nikolai Zherdev in the right faceoff circle, where the 23-year-old blistered a one-timer past Backstrom.








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MINNESOTA 1 0 1 2
    COLUMBUS 0 1 0 1 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: MIN - AARON VOROS 5 (PAVOL DEMITRA, MARIAN GABORIK) 13:51
    2ND PRD: COB - NIKOLAI ZHERDEV 11 (JASON CHIMERA, MICHAEL PECA) 0:52
    3RD PRD: MIN - BRIAN ROLSTON 9 (KIM JOHNSSON, PIERRE-MARC BOUCHARD)
    2:22
    POWER-PLAY CONVE

    Dec 8 9:39 PM


  • NHL
    MINNESOTA 2
    COLUMBUS 1
    3RD PRD: MIN - BRIAN ROLSTON 9 (KIM JOHNSSON, PIERRE-MARC BOUCHARD)
    2:22

    Wild vs. Blue JacketsDec 8 9:05 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MINNESOTA 1 0 1
    COLUMBUS 0 1 1 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: MIN - AARON VOROS 5 (PAVOL DEMITRA, MARIAN GABORIK) 13:51
    2ND PRD: COB - NIKOLAI ZHERDEV 11 (JASON CHIMERA, MICHAEL PECA) 0:52
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MIN 5 1

    Dec 8 8:42 PM


  • NHL
    MINNESOTA 1
    COLUMBUS 1
    2ND PRD: COB - NIKOLAI ZHERDEV 11 (JASON CHIMERA, MICHAEL PECA) 0:52

    Wild vs. Blue JacketsDec 8 8:07 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MINNESOTA 1 1
    COLUMBUS 0 0 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: MIN - AARON VOROS 5 (PAVOL DEMITRA, MARIAN GABORIK) 13:51
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MIN 5 5
    COB 6 6
    GOALIES: MIN - NIKLAS BACKSTRO

    Dec 8 7:48 PM


  • NHL
    MINNESOTA 1
    COLUMBUS 0
    1ST PRD: MIN - AARON VOROS 5 (PAVOL DEMITRA, MARIAN GABORIK) 13:51

    Wild vs. Blue JacketsDec 8 7:38 PM