NHL Game Summary - Minnesota at Atlanta
(Tuesday, October 14th)
Final Score: Minnesota 4, Atlanta 2
Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) - Antti Miettinen scored twice and Andrew Brunette had a goal and an assist as the Minnesota Wild dispatched of the Atlanta Thrashers by a 4-2 margin at Philips Arena.
Marian Gaborik added an unassisted tally while Miettinen also assisted on Brunette's first period goal. Niklas Backstrom halted 24-of-26 shots to get the win for the Wild, who won their season opener at home on Saturday, 4-3, against Boston.
Bryan Little had a goal and assist while Ilya Kovalchuk also scored for Atlanta, which started a three-game homestand Tuesday. New Jersey will visit on Thursday and then Buffalo two days later.
Kari Lehtonen made 22 saves in defeat.
"I thought we did a great job," Wild head coach Jacques Lemaire said. "Miettinen's a guy I don't have to say anything; he knows everything I know. He makes it easy to work. He knows when to back up players on the ice, makes good plays and plays good defense."
Gaborik scored unassisted, 2:44 into the final stanza to give the Wild a 2-1 advantage. A shot by Kim Johnsson was blocked by defenseman Mathieu Schneider but Gaborik was there to corral the loose puck and beat Lehtonen in close.
Miettinen broke out of the defensive zone and up the right boards on a breakaway, beating Lehtonen high and to the glove side while moving in on the netminder to make it 3-1 just before the halfway point of the third.
Backstrom made several key stops on a Thrashers power play late in the third, but less than a minute later Todd White made a spot-on pass to a streaking Little at the right side of the net and Little tipped it past Backstrom for a 3-2 game with less than five minutes remaining.
However, Minnesota answered right back two minutes later with Brunette and Miettinen breaking in on net, and Brunette slid a pass left from the right circle to Miettinen, who beat Lehtonen to the short side.
Atlanta pulled the goaltender with 2:05 remaining and had several chances but Backstrom made the 4-2 final stand up.
"We really don't respond well to adversity right now," Thrashers center Erik Christensen said. "They get one and we totally lose our focus, miss checks, and don't do our jobs -- that's how they got all the odd-man rushes."
With the Thrashers' Tobias Enstrom in the box for interference, the Wild executed a passing clinic on the power play with Miettinen sending it down low to Mikko Koivu at the left circle and Koivu slid it across the slot to Brunette to complete the tic-tac-toe score for a 1-0 lead.
Atlanta answered 7 1/2 minutes into the second when Little worked the puck down low and threw it back out front where Kovalchuk easily beat Backstrom with a quick shot.
Lehtonen kept it close after Niclas Havelid took a minor penalty, stopping Gaborik down low on a backhander in front, to highlight several short- handed stops. Late in the period, Schneider was sent to the box and again Lehtonen came up big short-handed, making a point-blank save on Marc- Andre Bergeron and then stopping James Sheppard down low to keep the game tied 1-1 after two.
The Thrashers won the only meeting between the two teams last season, at Philips Arena, snapping a six-game losing streak to Minnesota...Attendance was a meager 11,843...Minnesota finished the 2007-08 campaign 19-17-5 on the road while Atlanta was 19-19-3 at home a season ago...Schneider hit a milestone Tuesday, playing in his 1,200th career game. Schneider is third amongst active defenseman in games played and becomes the 74th player in league history to reach the 1,200-game mark...Minnesota's Owen Nolan missed the game with what is being called a lower-body injury. He will be reevaluated on Wednesday...Atlanta was 0-for-4 with the man advantage while Minnesota tallied once in five chances.
10/14 22:32:16 ET