Wild win record-setting 10th straight
NEW YORK -- After earning a franchise-record 10th straight victory, the Minnesota Wild locker room was filled with hockey cliches Friday night.What's significant is that every player on the roster is contributing, said Charlie Coyle after his fou...
NEW YORK - After earning a franchise-record 10th straight victory, the Minnesota Wild locker room was filled with hockey cliches Friday night.
What’s significant is that every player on the roster is contributing, said Charlie Coyle after his four-point night in the Wild’s 7-4 drubbing of the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
The wins are great, captain Mikko Koivu said, but it’s more important that the team is playing so well.
Mikael Granlund seemed to be as excited about the holiday break as the winning streak.
Only Bruce Boudreau was ready to express any pleasure about his team’s record-setting victory.
“I think it’s pretty cool,” the first-year Wild coach said. “Your team’s name and year goes in something hopefully we can duplicate or beat again. Any time you beat something that’s a record, that’s great. And to do it the way we had to do it, winning games nine and 10 in Montreal and New York, that’s pretty special.”
The Wild scored five goals in the second period to break open a game that was tied 1-1 after one period, then survived a third-period push on heavy legs after beating the Canadiens on Thursday night. The Rangers, who hadn’t played since Tuesday, outshot the Wild 12-1 in the third period but could not overcome the 6-3 deficit.
Coyle had an empty-net goal - the Wild’s only third-period shot - and three assists. Koivu and Jason Zucker each had a goal and two assists, and backup goaltender Darcy Kuemper made the most of a rare start in place of Vezina Trophy front-runner Devan Dubnyk by making 31 saves.
“You don’t think about it - you just focus on the next one,” Coyle said. “That’s what it feels like. No one’s thinking about anything or records or whatever. We just come ready to play.”
The Rangers came ready to play, as Chris Kreider scored the first of his two goals at 3:54 of the first period to make it 1-0, but Granlund responded less than six minutes later with his eighth goal of the season. The shots were even at 9-9 and the overall play between the teams wasn’t far apart, either.
Then the floodgates opened in the second period.
Koivu and Nino Niederreiter scored 14 seconds apart during the opening minute to make it 3-1, although Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh, a St. Paul native, quickly answered to cut the lead to 3-2. But when Wild defenseman Marco Scandella made it 4-2 with his first goal of the season, that ended the night for Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist.
Coach Alain Vigneault inserted Antti Raanta, who allowed two goals on seven shots over the final 34 minutes.
“This happened the last two games,” said Vigneault, referring to the Penguins’ 7-2 win against the Rangers on Tuesday. “This has not been a regular occurrence. I don’t intend to make it one. We need quite a few players to pick up their level.”
Granlund’s first-period goal was from a sharp angle that Lundqvist should have stopped, but otherwise there were defensive breakdowns galore in front of both Rangers goaltenders.
“The first one - bad goal,” said Lundqvist, who stopped just nine of 13 shots. “The second, it was just a really good opportunity for them and a really good shooter (Koivu). Third gets stuck on (defenseman Kevin Klein) and I can’t really recover the rebound. The fourth one, I have to try more to be in good position on that.
“They just took advantage of some breakdowns. I have to play more on my toes.”
The Rangers (23-12-1) head into the break with just one regulation win in their past six games. The Wild (21-8-4) will look for their 11th straight win when they conclude a three-game road trip against the Nashville Predators on Tuesday.
“We don’t want to stop there,” Coyle said of the record streak. “We want to beat it. We want to crush it, so we want to keep things going. We’re going to enjoy the break, come back and have the same attitude.”
- Wild C Eric Staal played his first game at Madison Square Garden since his stint with the Rangers last season. He was acquired at the trade deadline from Carolina and had three goals and six points in 20 games. Wild LW Zach Parise missed his second straight game with an illness.