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Heatley shines in Wild debut

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:50 AM

Dany Heatley was welcomed by the Minnesota Wild fans on Saturday night with a standing ovation.

He showed his gratitude with his play.

The Wild's new sniper scored a power-play goal and added an assist in a 4-2 season-opening victory against the Columbus Blue Jackets at the Xcel Energy Center.

"Everyone's talking about our system. We've done a good of trying to play that way, quickly," Heatley said. "I think it makes our team looks faster. The 'D' are moving the puck well. Guys are in position."

Heatley, acquired via trade from San Jose during the offseason, gave the Wild a 3-0 lead when he one-timed a pass from Pierre-Marc Bouchard during the second period, much to the delight of the capacity crowd of 19,040.

After Derek Dorsett beat Heatley to the crease and poked home Aaron Johnson's rebound for Columbus' first goal of the night, Heatley responded less than a minute later, as he finished off a 2-on-1 with Devin Setoguchi -- his teammate in San Jose -- to give Minnesota a 4-1 lead.

"It was a little sloppy at times, but we're going to get better and better," Setoguchi said. "That's just a given. But it's a good start. It's a good building block for us."

Marco Scandella scored his first career goal via the power play in the first period after Matt Cullen put the Wild on the board just 1:10 into the game.

Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom made 29 saves and benefited from the fact that Columbus failed to hit the net on several scoring chances. R.J. Umberger also hit the post in the second period when he had an open net.

Steve Mason, who also suffered a 3-2 loss to Nashville on Friday, made 19 saves against the Wild. Columbus outshot Minnesota 12-3 in the third period.

The Blue Jackets went 0-for-6 on the power play, including a four-minute advantage after Bouchard's was nailed with a double minor penalty for high sticking. Columbus has failed to convert on its last 40 power-play opportunities against Minnesota.

"We were as flat as flat can be," Blue Jackets coach Scott Arniel said.

The night began with a video tribute and a moment of silence for former Wild players Derek Boogaard and Pavol Demitra, both of whom died during the offseason. The Wild are wearing a sticker with their jersey numbers, 24 and 38, on the back of their helmets this season.

The victory was Mike Yeo's first as a coach in the NHL. Yeo replaced the fired Todd Richards on June 16. Walking into the interview room with a serious look, Yeo flashed a smile as he approached the podium.

"I was going to try to play it cool, but it feels pretty good," Yeo said.

Material from wire services was used in this report.
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