ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) _ The Minnesota Wild made coach Jacques Lemaire unhappy
with a sluggish morning skate.
He was in a much better mood at night.
Jim Dowd put in a long rebound of his own slap shot to break a tie with 15.5
seconds left and lift the Wild to a 4-2 victory over the road-weary Chicago
Blackhawks on Wednesday night.
``Hopefully this can get us going in the right direction again,'' Dowd said.
``You know when he's not happy. We just came and got focused and ready to go.''
Richard Park had two goals, including an empty-netter on the faceoff just
three seconds after Dowd's score. That set an NHL record for fastest two goals
by one team _ five clubs held the previous record of four seconds.
Pascal Dupuis also had a goal, and Dwayne Roloson had 29 saves for
Minnesota, which avoided a league-high 15th tie and more scolding from Lemaire.
The Wild, who won for the fourth time in 17 games (4-4-9), are struggling
with scoring and consistency after advancing to the Western Conference finals
last season. They entered the night in 12th place.
``I just mentioned that we have to play better here, in front of our fans,''
Lemaire said. ``People want to see excitement.''
Chicago, which last won away from home on Nov. 7, tied a 50-year-old
franchise record with 16 road games without a victory (0-15-0-1).
``You can't look at the outcome all the time,'' said goalie Craig Anderson,
still looking for his first NHL victory (0-11-2). ``You have to look at how you
perform. I think overall we performed well enough to win. We just need a couple
After losing his stick as overtime neared, Anderson stopped Dowd's first
shot with his glove. The rebound, however, whizzed past his blocker as he tried
to pick up his stick.
``I just shot it as hard as I could,'' Dowd said.
Roloson, a strong candidate for the Western Conference All-Star team that
will be announced Thursday, would've had a shutout were it not for two
own-goals he gave up.
With the Wild leading 2-1 midway through the third period, the rebound of
Nathan Dempsey's shot through slot traffic came back and was knocked in by the
skate of Minnesota's Andrew Brunette.
On a second-period power play, Tuomo Ruutu's centering pass from behind the
goal line was stolen by Wild rookie Zbynek Michalek at the near post. Tyler
Arnason, without touching the puck with his stick, forced Michalek's clearing
attempt to go astray and into the opposite corner for Chicago's first goal.
``You can't control it,'' Roloson said. ``Our guys are working hard to make
plays and keep the puck out of the net. Sometimes those things happen.''
A few exchanges provided flashbacks of the old Chicago-Minnesota matchups
when the North Stars' biggest rival in the Norris Division was the Blackhawks.
In the second, Minnesota's Alex Henry had his cheek bloodied by a fight with
Blackhawks right wing Ryan VandenBussche. The Wild's Jason Wiemer then fought
Chicago, currently the worst team in the West, endured its fourth straight
``I think it's starting to wear on us a little bit,'' Arnason said.