ST. PAUL, Minn. - Marian Gaborik did it again.
Gaborik's wrist shot with 2:39 to play in overtime gave the Minnesota Wild a 3-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Friday night. Gaborik corralled the puck about five feet inside the Minnesota zone, wheeled, and saw nothing but open ice in front before he turned on the jets. One of the fastest skaters in the NHL, Gaborik skated in on Manny Legace and beat him on the stick side.
It was the third straight game with a goal for Gaborik, who also has five total goals in his last five games.
Brian Rolston and Brent Burns also scored for the Wild, who have won three in a row for the first time since starting the season with five straight victories.
Lee Stempniak and Brad Boyes scored for St. Louis, which overcame an early 2-0 deficit to tie the game in the second period, but couldn't get the final goal thanks to some nifty goaltending by Niklas Backstrom.
Backstrom was rarely tested in the first two periods, but came up huge in the third period and overtime to thwart the Blues.
He stopped a breakaway by Jamal Mayers with 4:46 to play in regulation, then made three saves on point-blank shots in overtime before Gaborik ended it.
Backstrom finished with 22 saves and Legace had 23 for St. Louis.
The Blues have shown plenty of grit this season in getting off to a surprising 14-8-1 start. Signing Paul Kariya and bringing Keith Tkachuk back has provided a nice veteran backbone to complement a promising group of youngsters, including Boyes.
His team-leading 15th goal of the season came on a beautiful give-and-go with Kariya that tied it at 2 in the second period. Boyes carried the puck across the blue line, slipped a drop pass between his legs to Kariya and barrelled toward the net.
Kariya fed a perfect touch pass back to Boyes, who beat Backstrom.
The game grew testy in the third period when St. Louis defenceman Barrett Jackman hit Wild centre James Sheppard in the face with the butt end of his stick. Wild tough guy Todd Fedoruk tried to start a fight with Jackman immediately after the play, but Jackman backed down.
The Wild got off to a torrid start this season, but slowed down this month after Gaborik, Pavol Demitra and Mikko Koivu went down with injuries.
Gaborik and Demitra are back now, just in time to help the Wild finish the month at 7-6-0 for just the second winning November in franchise history.
Notes: The Wild's Mark Parrish (hip) was a scratch after being listed as probable on Thursday. ... Blues RW David Backes, a native of the Minneapolis suburb of Blaine, initially was listed as out for the game with a knee injury. But Backes was in the lineup for the first time in 10 games, and was active in the first period. ... Sheppard left the game briefly after the hit from Jackman but did return.