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Winless Wild head for Europe after loss to Columbus

Friday, 10.01.2010 / 12:17 AM / Roundup

By John Kreiser - NHL.com Columnist

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Winless Wild head for Europe after loss to Columbus
Columbus completed a two-game sweep of Minnesota with a 4-2 win at the Xcel Energy Center in the last North American preseason game for the Wild.
The Minnesota Wild left for Europe after Thursday night's game against Columbus. They're more than happy to leave the North American portion of the preseason behind them.

Columbus completed a home-and-home sweep of the Wild as Ethan Moreau and Samuel Pahlsson each had a goal and an assist in a 4-2 win. Fedor Tyutin and Jakub Voracek also scored for the Blue Jackets (3-3-0), which beat the Wild for the second time in three days.

The Wild finished the North American portion of their preseason with an 0-4-2 record, including a 3-2 shootout loss at Columbus two days earlier. After the game, the Wild left for Helsinki, Finland, where they will play an exhibition game against Tampere Ilves on Monday and a pair of regular-season games against Carolina next weekend as part of the NHL Premiere series.

"We have a long flight ahead of us, and we'll be able to get some work done and relax a little bit on the plane," coach Todd Richards said. "Once we land, we'll try to get acclimated to the time zone, and get back to work on Saturday. 

The Jackets are also heading for Europe -- they'll play two games against San Jose in Stockholm -- but they play preseason games in Washington on Friday and home against Atlanta on Saturday before they leave.

Columbus, playing without injured captain Rick Nash, jumped to a quick 2-0 lead on goals by Fedor Tyutin and Moreau 68 seconds apart and never looked back.

"Clearly, our start was unacceptable," Richards said. "You get behind the eight-ball and you're chasing all night long. Dig yourself a hole early and it's tough to get out."

Antti Miettinen got one back for the Wild 60 seconds into the second period, but Samuel Pahlsson scored at 5:37 and Jakub Voracek made it 4-1 at 6:38.

Matt Cullen scored later in the second period, but the Wild couldn't get anything else past goaltender Steve Mason, who made 24 saves.

"It seems like we're waiting, but I don't know what we're waiting for," Richards said of his team's performance. "We have to get better in certain areas, and we need individuals to play better -- harder, with more desperation and urgency."

Sabres 5, Canadiens 3

Luke Adam probably wasn't in Buffalo's plans for this season -- but he might have turned some heads by scoring two of the Sabres' three second-period goals as Buffalo won at Montreal.

"I felt really good out there," the Sabres' second-round pick in 2008 said. "I've just been trying to focus on the little things and hope big things come of that. It worked tonight."

Adam made it 2-0 at 1:41 of the second period when he stole the puck from Ryan O'Byrne behind the Canadiens' net and quickly tucked the puck between goalie Alex Auld and the left post. He capped the three-goal outburst with a quick wrister from the right circle that beat Auld at 7:50 and made it 4-2. Thomas Vanek scored in the first period for the Sabres, Tim Connolly made it 3-2 during a 5-on-3 power play in the second and Drew Schiestel added a third-period goal.

O'Byrne and Mathieu Darche scored less than two minutes apart in the second period for Montreal, and Tom Pyatt added a goal in the third.

The Sabres scored three times with the man advantage, while the Canadiens power play failed to score for their third-straight game, bringing their pre-season total to a paltry 3-for-37.

"Special teams often dictate the outcome of the hockey game," Canadiens coach Jacques Martin said.

Still, Martin was quick to caution against reading too deeply into pre-season trend.

"We have to be better, but at the same time we never had our two units competing against each other and that was our strength last year," he said. "Once we get our people back I think that'll help our performance on the power play."

Stars 2, Avalanche 1


Dallas saved the best for last, getting the game-winner from Brenden Morrow with 59.8 seconds remaining to rally for a win against Colorado in the back end of a home-and-home series.

Kevin Porter gave the Avs the lead when he scored at 8:43 of the third period, but Mike Ribeiro's power-play goal at 13:32 got the Stars even. Morrow, won it when he took a centering pass from Adam Burish and beat goaltender Craig Anderson for his third goal of the preseason.

"It was good to get results," Morrow said. "You'd hate to let this one slip, our last one at home before the regular season starts. It feels good."

Anderson made 21 saves for Colorado, while Dallas' Kari Lehtonen stopped 22 shots.


Quote of the Day

I've never seen anything like that. The great thing is I don't know how many times guys bailed me out where they had to score to keep it alive and they did every time. It was amazing. It's not the way we draw it up, to go 20 rounds here, but obviously it's a big win.

— Florida goalie Roberto Luongo after the Panthers defeated the Capitals in the longest shootout in NHL history on Tuesday
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