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Gaborik, Wild hand Blackhawks eighth straight loss

Jan 12, 2008 - 5:57 AM By Rory Spears PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

CHICAGO (Ticker) -- Marian Gaborik helped the Minnesota Wild continue their dominance over the slumping Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night.

Gaborik scored two goals and sparked a three-goal second period as the Wild handed the Blackhawks their eighth consecutive loss with a 5-2 victory.

Matt Foy, Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Mark Parrish also tallied and Eric Belanger added two assists for Minnesota, which has won 12 of its last 13 meetings with Chicago.

"I don't know why we have so much success against Chicago," Gaborik said. "They have a good team, so hopefully we can keep going against them."

The Wild scored four goals on their first 10 shots of the contest on goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin. Gaborik, Minnesota's leading scorer, posted his fifth multi-goal performance of the season.

"It's not often we will get four goals on 10 shots," Gaborik said. "Early in the game, they came into our zone like a knife through butter, so we have things we have to get better at."

With the game knotted at 1-1, Gaborik gave the Wild the lead with 9:23 left in the second period. He took a pass at the blue line from Belanger, then skated into the left faceoff circle and beat Khabibulin to the glove side for his 23rd tally of the season.

"The last two nights make a great four points," Gaborik said. "I have been feeling good on the ice. I would like to keep this streak going."

Gaborik also added an empty-netter with 95 seconds remaining in the third to secure the win.

The last 48 hours have been kind to Gaborik. After the 25-year-old Slovakian was named to the Western Conference All-Star team for the second time in his career Thursday afternoon, Gaborik notched the decisive shootout goal in a 6-5 victory over the Detroit Red Wings later that night.

Josh Harding, who played 36 minutes in relief Thursday, made a season-high 41 saves for Minnesota in this one.

"The Blackhawks shot from everywhere," Harding said. "They got some rebounds, but for the most part, my defensemen were always there to clear away the loose pucks."

After Bouchard gave Minnesota a two-goal edge at 13:16 of the second with a power-play tally, Parrish increased the lead to 4-1 with exactly one minute left in the session, scoring his 13th goal of the season.

Defenseman Brent Sopel rejoined Chicago's lineup after missing seven games with a broken finger and scored the game's first goal. Martin Havlat also tallied, netting a man-advantage goal 71 seconds into the third.

"It's nice to be back, but it's not about my story," Sopel said. "It's about getting two points and ending this losing streak. It's been frustrating watching during this time. I'm glad to be back on the ice."

Sopel, playing his first game since December 26, intercepted fellow defenseman Brent Burns' clearing attempt at the Wild's blue line and fired a high wrist shot over Harding's shoulder at 3:49 of the first period.

Khabibulin stopped just 11 of the 15 shots he faced.

"To make the playoffs, you have to have good goaltending," Blackhawks coach Denis Savard said. "I hate to blame Khabby for the loss because their goalie played great. But he knows those were not good goals."

The Wild tied the game at 1-1 at 6:36 of the first period, when Foy scored his fourth goal of the season. Foy stole the puck behind the net from blue-liner Cam Barker and came out on the left side before putting it between Khabibulin's pads.

Minnesota center Mikko Koivu returned after missing 24 games with a broken leg and registered an assist on Bouchard's goal.

"It was great to have Mikko back," Gaborik said. "He is a big addition to our team and is working hard to elevate his game."








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MINNESOTA 1 3 1 5
    CHICAGO 1 0 1 2 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: CHI - BRENT SOPEL 1 (UNASSISTED) 3:49
    MIN - MATT FOY 4 (JAMES SHEPPARD, KIM JOHNSSON) 6:36
    2ND PRD: MIN - MARIAN GABORIK 23 (ERIC BELANGER) 10:37
    MIN - (PP) PIERRE-MARC BOUCHARD 8 (MIKKO KOIVU, BRIAN
    ROLSTON) 13:16
    M

    Jan 11 11:11 PM


  • NHL
    MINNESOTA 5
    CHICAGO 2
    3RD PRD: MIN - (EN) MARIAN GABORIK 24 (STEPHANE VEILLEUX) 18:25

    Wild vs. BlackhawksJan 11 11:08 PM


  • NHL
    MINNESOTA 4
    CHICAGO 2
    3RD PRD: CHI - (PP) MARTIN HAVLAT 6 (ROBERT LANG, DUSTIN BYFUGLIEN)
    1:11 (TWO-MAN ADVANTAGE)

    Wild vs. BlackhawksJan 11 10:39 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MINNESOTA 1 3 4
    CHICAGO 1 0 1 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: CHI - BRENT SOPEL 1 (UNASSISTED) 3:49
    MIN - MATT FOY 4 (JAMES SHEPPARD, KIM JOHNSSON) 6:36
    2ND PRD: MIN - MARIAN GABORIK 23 (ERIC BELANGER) 10:37
    MIN - (PP) PIERRE-MARC BOUCHARD 8 (MIKKO KOIVU, BRIAN
    ROL

    Jan 11 10:16 PM


  • NHL
    MINNESOTA 4
    CHICAGO 1
    2ND PRD: MIN - MARK PARRISH 13 (ERIC BELANGER) 19:00

    Wild vs. BlackhawksJan 11 10:14 PM


  • NHL
    MINNESOTA 3
    CHICAGO 1
    2ND PRD: MIN - (PP) PIERRE-MARC BOUCHARD 8 (MIKKO KOIVU, BRIAN
    ROLSTON) 13:16

    Wild vs. BlackhawksJan 11 10:06 PM


  • NHL
    MINNESOTA 2
    CHICAGO 1
    2ND PRD: MIN - MARIAN GABORIK 23 (ERIC BELANGER) 10:37

    Wild vs. BlackhawksJan 11 9:55 PM
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    Wild vs. BlackhawksJan 11 9:51 PM
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    Wild vs. BlackhawksJan 11 9:44 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MINNESOTA 1 1
    CHICAGO 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: CHI - BRENT SOPEL 1 (UNASSISTED) 3:49
    MIN - MATT FOY 4 (JAMES SHEPPARD, KIM JOHNSSON) 6:36
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    MIN 5 5
    CHI 7

    Jan 11 9:16 PM


  • NHL
    MINNESOTA 1
    CHICAGO 1
    1ST PRD: MIN - MATT FOY 4 (UNASSISTED) 6:36

    Wild vs. BlackhawksJan 11 8:51 PM


  • NHL
    MINNESOTA 0
    CHICAGO 1
    1ST PRD: CHI - BRENT SOPEL 1 (UNASSISTED) 3:49

    Wild vs. BlackhawksJan 11 8:47 PM
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    Wild vs. BlackhawksJan 10 11:51 AM
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    Wild vs. BlackhawksJan 2 5:21 PM