ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- The Minnesota Wild found even more open space than
usual against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Wes Walz scored on two breakaways -- once on a three-on-none -- and the Wild
ran their unbeaten streak to five games with a 5-2 victory Saturday night over
the Blue Jackets.
"To be honest, we play so many tight-checking games, it was nice to
actually have a two-goal lead," Walz said.
The Wild, who endured an eight-game stretch in which they went 2-4-2 and
scored just eight goals, has scored 17 in the last five games.
Columbus has just 11 goals in its eight-game winless streak (0-7-1).
"All the teams have times like that," Minnesota coach Jacques Lemaire
said. "When you are going through hard times, there is always the tough break
you are getting that kills you."
Walz scored a short-handed goal in the first period and the Blue Jackets
were outscored on their own power play for the second straight night. Columbus
remained the only NHL team without a road victory, falling to 0-11-1-2 away
"It's something we want to erase every time we are on the road," said
Columbus forward Geoff Sanderson, who had a goal. "It's definitely an issue in
our locker room right now."
Andrei Zyuzin had a goal and two assists, and Antti Laaksonen had a pair of
assists for the Wild, who evened their record (14-14-6) for the first time
since Nov. 19.
The Blue Jackets needed help from the Wild to get their first goal.
Sanderson had his centering pass deflect off the leg of Zyuzin and past goalie
Columbus went 0-for-13 on the power play and gave up a short-handed goal in
a 2-1 loss to Calgary on Friday night. The Blue Jackets went 0-for-5 on
"I think confidence is a big part of it right now," Sanderson said.
"Especially coming off the last game, our team is really fragile right now."
Walz's short-handed tally opened the scoring, and Matt Johnson made it 2-0
at 5:57 of the first period on a nifty one-timer off a pass by Andrew Brunette.
Sanderson cut Minnesota's lead in half before the end of the first, but
Zyuzin answered with a slap shot from above the right circle at 9:21 of the
Walz completed the three-man breakaway for his eighth goal at 13:09 to make
"I think the last time I had a 3-on-0 was last year, playing with my son on
the outdoor rink," Walz joked.
Trevor Letowski of Columbus and Sergei Zholtok of the Wild traded goals in
the third period.