* Wild TV - Dec. 19, 2008 Highlights
A look at all the action from an impressive, 4-1 victory over New York
Jacques Lemaire credits hard working team for the win vs. the Islanders
Tom Reid interview
Tom Reid talks to Colton Gillies after scoring his first career NHL goal S. Veilleux
Stephane Veilleux feels rewarded after keeping a positive attitude
Colton was all smiles in the locker room after scoring his first career goal
* Photo Gallery - Dec. 19, 2008 Wild vs. NYI * Wild Radio - Dec. 19, 2008 POSTgame wrap After the celebration ended, we caught up with Gillies, Bouchard and Lemaire
Hockey Lodge Hotline Friday's edition of the Hockey Lodge Hotline focused in on Mats Sundin landing in Vancouver and how it will affect the Wild and the Northwest * Wild.com Blog - Dec. 19, 2008 The R.S.S. Feed * Wild news
Colton Gillies scored his first career NHL goal on a 3-on-2 break with Derek Boogaard and Krys Kolanos
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Almost defined lately by the uphill battles it seemed to encounter on the way to the net, the Wild on Friday pumped 39 shots on the visiting Islanders to end its six-game winless streak.
Minnesota scored three goals in the third period, including Colton Gillies' first in the National Hockey League, while holding New York to only 16 shots as Minnesota won for the first time since Dec. 3.
Though another first period passed without the Wild scoring a goal -- the seventh such occasion in eight games -- the frame did include a hit post, three drawn penalties and their resulting power plays, and a shots advantage of 11-7.
Extending another ignominious streak, the Wild would also allow the first goal -- the seventh such occasion -- before tying the game late in the second period and putting and end to its most frustrating streak with a 4-1 win.
"Slowly, gradually, you lose confidence, and that's what happened with us," Head Coach Jacques Lemaire said afterward. "Hopefully, this game's going to give us a little confidence [so] guys believe that they can score."
The Islanders, who themselves carried the burden of a seven-game losing streak into Friday's game, opened the scoring early in the second period on a five-on-three man advantage.
After Marc-Andre Bergeron interference and Antti Miettinen hooking calls at 2:47 and 3:19, respectively, Doug Weight set up Richard Park from across the zone for a back-door tap-in and a 1-0 lead at 3:28.
It didn't take long, however, for the Wild to begin clamping down its defensive effort and ramping up its offensive chances against the often-tested Joey MacDonald.
The Islanders had scored on their eighth shot of the game, and added shot No. 9 at the 4:45 mark, but wouldn't record their next official shot until the 17:28 mark. In between, the Wild took 10 shots, hitting another post and forcing MacDonald into a number of difficult saves before finally breaking even at 19:03 on Stephane Veilleux's third goal of the season.
James Sheppard chased a missed Wild shot below the goal line, then turned to throw a backhander off the wall and straight out to Veilleux, who had been left alone as a defender moved to cover Sheppard. Veilleux had enough time from the top of the crease to make no mistake with the shot, and the Wild closed the lead to 1-1.
"You're trying, you're trying, and you don't get results. But you've got to keep a positive attitude," Veilleux said of the goal he scored as the PA announcer called the second period's one-minute warning.
At the end of two, Minnesota's shots lead, thanks to holding an opponent to a season-low three, had swelled to 26-10, and, four shots into the third period, the Wild would take over the game lead.
One shift after Veilleux's pressure on the net resulted in his being held down on the ice by an Islanders defender, a line of Krys Kolanos, called up earlier in the day, Colton Gillies and Derek Boogaard, 6'2", 6'4" and 6'7", respectively, lined up for the faceoff in the offensive zone.
At 15:32 of the third, the line helped make a piece of Gillies' history by following the advice that Lemaire had been so strongly stressing over the past few days -- go to the net. As Kolanos gained the zone, Boogaard and Gillies crashed with speed. Kolanos' shot bounced around in the crease long enough for Gillies to poke it in for a 2-1 lead.
"We were looking for goals from other guys," Lemaire said. "When Krys went on with Gillies and Boogaard ... they got that goal, it gave us a good lift. All the bench was just happy for them."
Said Gillies of the goal he scored against the franchise his uncle helped make famous: "It was probably the best feeling in the world. I think the guys just needed a little bit of a confidence booster. I mean, if I can score, they can certainly score, right?"
The goal marked the team's first lead in 408:16, and it didn't take Minnesota long to extend it. The Wild generated a number of chances in the coming minutes, and Mikko Koivu would give his team a two-goal lead on the game's best shot of the night.
Koivu won one of his 16 faceoffs back to Kim Johnsson, who gave the puck back to Koivu at the top of the zone. With a short pause, then a quick move inside, he left Josh Bailey at the faceoff dot, opened a clear path for himself to the net and snapped a shot high over MacDonald's glove at 12:10 of the third.
"Mikko's goal, it made a huge difference," Lemaire said. "It's like everyone had 100 pounds off their [shoulders]. Everyone was skating, enjoying the game, having fun. ... Didn't happen too many times the last couple of weeks."
By that point, Minnesota held a 35-10 shots lead, and would close the scoring on its 37th shot just over two minutes later.
Pierre-Marc Bouchard took a pass at the top of zone, flipped the puck to himself to avoid former Gopher Kyle Okposo, rushed to open ice and fired a shot inside the far post from the right faceoff dot.
"That's what I have to do more," said Bouchard, who has been trying to find the confidence in his own shot over the past few games.
Backstrom made two more saves the rest of the way for a total of 15.
"It's a good sign for us," said Koivu. "Every line got chances. We all got some momentum in their end."
Game puck goes to ...
Gillies. Hard not to enjoy the fact that a teenager would admit to being speechless upon scoring his first NHL goal. The B.C. native was, thanks to his postgame one-on-one interviews, the last player in the locker room after the win and still in his skates as most of his teammates were about halfway to the bus, but it didn't keep him from enjoying the moment.
"That's what they've been telling us all along," he said, referring to setting up on top of the crease. "I was fortunate enough to get a good bounce tonight and put one in."
And the puck?
"It's kicking around here somewhere," he said of the game-winner -- the first time a Wild player to have his first NHL goal wind up as a third-period game-winner since Derek Boogaard on Oct. 19, 2005. (Great note, Wild PR gurus.)
"You always want to get the puck to the net and get our guys there. You know, it's pretty far away from their net to our net to get a shot, so, every time you get a puck on their net, it's easier to play defense." -- Backstrom
The Wild put RW Owen Nolan, who has played in only 17 of 31 games, on injured reserve with an unspecified lower body ailment. Kolanos was called up from the minors for the fourth time already this season, and he filled in at C while Eric Belanger sat out with an illness. ... Sutton also played for the Wild for their first 1 1/2 seasons until he was traded to Atlanta for Hnat Domenichelli in early 2002. ... DiPietro has resumed practicing with the team. ... The Wild are 26-2-1 in the last 29 games Bouchard has scored in.
1 - 0 NYI