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game recap

Cowboy Up

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 3:50 AM

Glen Andresen - Manager of Social Media

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Cowboy Up
New York Islanders 2, Minnesota Wild 3

Coming into tonight’s game, Wild RW Owen “Cowboy” Nolan had 410 goals in his NHL career, so we won’t pretend that the two he scored on Friday night were the biggest of his career. But his second, which came with just over a minute to play and put the Wild over the New York Islanders, 3-2, was definitely the biggest of the Wild season so far.

Judging by the reaction on Nolan’s face after he gloved down a long shot from Eric Belanger and pumped it past Martin Biron, it was pretty big.

Nolan’s two goals, along with one from Mikko Koivu, helped the Wild rally from a 2-1 third period deficit to a rousing 3-2 triumph over the Isles.

Nolan’s goal came in unpredictable fashion. After getting dumped in front of the Islander net, Nolan was behind the play as the Islanders attempted to break out of the zone. Thanks to Belanger holding the zone, Nolan was all alone in front and he calmly caught the puck and settled it before picking his spot.

“I had an idea that (Belanger) knew I was in front and I was just waiting for it,” said Nolan.

“He showed great composure on the game-winning goal,” said Head Coach, Todd Richards. “A lot of guys get in that situation and rush it a little bit. Great composure.”

The win was not only big, but also surprising. Minnesota had six players out of the lineup, including Brent Burns, who was out with an illness. Burns joined Martin Havlat (hamstring), Petr Sykora (concussion), Benoit Pouliot (upper body), Chuck Kobasew (lower body) and Pierre-Marc Bouchard (concussion) on the injury list.

That is a lot of firepower, but it is not an excuse for the Richards, or the Wild.

“You have to find ways to win games,” said Richards.

“It gives young guys great opportunities to step in and show what they got,” said Nolan. “They’ve got to bring the energy and I thought they did that.”

The Wild did, but it wasn’t easy. Nolan started the scoring midway through the first by bouncing one off Biron from behind the net. It was a fluky goal that seemed to wake up the Isles keeper because he woke up after that. He repeatedly made huge saves on Koivu and Antti Miettinen in between consecutive second period goals by Jon Sim and Josh Bailey.

Finally, Koivu broke through from in front, finishing a tic-tac-toe passing display on the power play at the 6:58 mark of the third.

“Everyone touched the puck in about four seconds,” said Richards of the play.

That set up Nolan’s heroics and erased the memory of a disappointing loss to Phoenix on Wednesday.

Post-Game Notes

RW Owen Nolan scored two goals, giving him six on the season to rank second on the Wild roster. It marked Nolan’s 75th career multi-goal game.

C Mikko Koivu scored a power play-goal, giving him a three-game point streak (1-3=4).

LW Andrew Brunette posted an assist and has a three-game point streak (1-3=4). Brunette has six points (2-4=6) in his last six games overall.

C Eric Belanger tallied two assists marking his first points in eight games since Oct. 31.

D Marek Zidlicky recorded an assist and leads Wild defensemen with 12 points (2-10=12). He ranks second on the team overall in assists.

G Niklas Backstrom made 27 saves and improved to 17-3-3 against the Eastern Conference since the beginning of the 2007-08 season.

The Wild won its fifth straight over the Islanders, who haven’t defeated Minnesota since March 19, 2004. Minnesota has won the last three home meetings and hasn’t lost to New York at Xcel Energy Center since Dec. 19, 2002.

Eight of Minnesota’s nine home games have been decided by one goal (6-2-0).

The Wild was a perfect 6-for-6 on the penalty kill, ending a four-game streak of allowing at least one PPG. Opponents were 6-for-15 (40.0%) in that span.

The Wild’s third period power-play goal snapped an 0-for-21 streak with the man advantage at home dating back to Oct. 28.

The Wild won for the third time (3-9-1) when trailing after two periods.

D Shane Hnidy played in his 498th career NHL game.
scoring summary
1st Period
11:44
MIN
Owen Nolan (5) ASST: Eric Belanger (9), Nick Schultz (3)
1 - 0 MIN
2nd Period
03:07
NYI
Jon Sim (2) ASST: Trent Hunter (3), Bruno Gervais (4)
1 - 1 Tie
10:23
NYI
Josh Bailey (4) ASST: Jon Sim (3), Mark Streit (8)
2 - 1 NYI
3rd Period
06:58
MIN
PPG - Mikko Koivu (6) ASST: Marek Zidlicky (10), Andrew Brunette (9)
2 - 2 Tie
18:53
MIN
Owen Nolan (6) ASST: Eric Belanger (10), James Sheppard (2)
3 - 2 MIN
penalty summary
1st Period
01:59
MIN
Antti Miettinen  Hooking against  John Tavares
04:35
MIN
Nathan Smith  Fighting (maj) against  Nate Thompson
04:35
NYI
Nate Thompson  Fighting (maj) against  Nathan Smith
15:01
MIN
Robbie Earl  Too many men/ice - bench
17:56
MIN
Shane Hnidy  Instigator - Misconduct against  Tim Jackman
17:56
MIN
Shane Hnidy  Instigator against  Tim Jackman
17:56
MIN
Shane Hnidy  Fighting (maj) against  Tim Jackman
17:56
NYI
Tim Jackman  Fighting (maj) against  Shane Hnidy
2nd Period
03:45
NYI
Mark Streit  Tripping against  Marek Zidlicky
04:10
NYI
Sean Bergenheim  Hooking against  Nick Schultz
07:54
MIN
Antti Miettinen  Holding against  Jack Hillen
12:48
NYI
Bruno Gervais  Tripping against  Cal Clutterbuck
19:26
NYI
Mark Streit  Slashing against  Antti Miettinen
3rd Period
06:33
NYI
Andrew MacDonald  Hi-sticking against  Andrew Brunette
06:33
MIN
Shane Hnidy  Holding against  Andrew MacDonald
06:33
NYI
Jon Sim  Roughing against  Shane Hnidy
08:56
MIN
Antti Miettinen  Tripping against  Richard Park
15:59
MIN
Greg Zanon  Delaying Game-Puck over glass
goalie stats
Martin Biron
Martin Biron
2-6-2
SA: 29TOI: 59:07
Saves: 26EV: 20 - 22
PIM: 0PP: 6 - 7
SV%: .897SH: 0 - 0
Niklas Backstrom
SA: 29TOI: 59:39
Saves: 27EV: 14 - 16
PIM: 0PP: 13 - 13
SV%: .931SH: 0 - 0
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