NHL Game Summary - Minnesota at New Jersey
(Tuesday, February 17th)
Final Score: Minnesota 4, New Jersey 4
East Rutherford, NJ (Sports Network) - Brian Gionta's second goal of the game with 6:27 left spoiled Marian Gaborik's hat trick for Minnesota, as New Jersey and the Wild skated to a 4-4 tie at Continental Airlines Arena.
In addition to Gionta's two tallies, Erik Rasmussen and Paul Martin each recorded markers for the Devils, who had a two-game winning streak snapped. Scott Gomez recorded three assists while Scott Niedermayer added two helpers.
Martin Brodeur stopped 30 of the 34 shots he faced, including three in the overtime.
Joining Gaborik in the goal column for Minnesota was Sergei Zholtok, who also added an assist. Alexandre Daigle assisted on two tallies, as the Wild remained winless in New Jersey (0-2-1).
"I don't think anybody expected it to be up and down like it was," Gaborik said. "With two defensive teams, you don't expect a lot of goals. It was a good game to watch with a lot of odd-man rushes."
Manny Fernandez faced 36 shots and made 32 saves, stopping two of those in the extra period for Minnesota.
Gaborik put the Wild on top 4-3 at the 12:12 mark of the third period on the power play, as he scored on a wrister from the right boards as Brodeur was screened in front.
"We tried not to put pressure on Marian all year, but it makes a huge difference for our team when he scores," Minnesota head coach Jacques Lemaire said.
Gionta notched the equalizer just 1:21 later from the doorstep as he tipped home a Niedermayer shot under Fernandez's glove.
"He is aggressive when he goes to the net," Devils coach Pat Burns said of Gionta. "He doesn't try to get fancy in front of the net and that is why he gets those goals."
John Madden had an opportunity to win the game for New Jersey in the overtime, but his breakaway attempt a minute into the period was stuffed by Fernandez's stick.
Gaborik then had a chance to record his fourth tally of the game, but his slapper two minutes later went wide as he broke his stick on the attempt.
Those were the two best chances either side had as both kept dumping and chasing the puck the rest of the extra period.
Rasmussen put the Devils on the board first with his fourth goal of the season 15:53 into the opening period. Grant Marshall collected a loose puck near the right boards and fired a pass in the slot to Rasmussen, who redirected the puck past Fernandez.
Despite not tallying a goal, the Wild kept Brodeur on his toes by peppering him with 11 shots, all of which were turned aside.
The second period was a more wild affair as both teams combined to score five goals.
Minnesota tied the game 1-1 at the 2:02 mark of the second period. Gaborik scored his first of the night when he received a pass from Daigle behind the net and slid it under Brodeur's stick and blocker.
The Devils went back on top 3 1/2 minutes later on a Martin power-play goal with only a second remaining on the man advantage. New Jersey worked the puck around the Minnesota zone before Niedermayer received a pass near the left boards. Niedermayer faked a shot to freeze the defenseman and made a cross- ice pass to Martin at the top of the right circle, who one-timed it under Fernandez's glove into the back of the net.
However, the Wild tied it at two a little more than a minute later as Brodeur vacated the net to try and clear the puck down the right boards, but was intercepted by Zholtok. The Minnesota forward took control of the puck and quickly wristed the puck into the back of an empty net to make it 2-2.
The Devils went back up by a goal on Gionta's 13th of the season with 9:54 remaining in the period. Gionta, who went flying to the net, had Jeff Friesen's shot hit of his shin and slip under Fernandez's leg pads.
"It was real weird," Gionta said of all the goal scoring. "It was uncharacteristic of both teams. We both play defense."
Again, Minnesota answered with a tying tally as Gaborik notched his second marker of the contest with only 1:59 remaining until the second intermission. Zholtok won a face-off against Madden in the left circle and immediately slipped it over to Gaborik, who quickly let loose a wrister that beat Brodeur five-hole.
Zholtok scored a goal for the third straight game, giving him seven in his last seven contests...The Wild recorded their NHL leading 16th tie this season. Minnesota is 0-2-16 in the extra period this season...Minnesota is 1-4-8-1 in its last 14 road games.
02/18 00:05:21 ET