EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) _ The Minnesota Wild and New Jersey Devils pulled
a surprise and abandoned their usually cautious style of play.
The result was an expectedly entertaining 4-4 tie decided only when New
Jersey's Brian Gionta scored his second goal with 6:27 remaining in regulation
Tuesday night. The teams combined for 70 shots as defense became an
The Wild's Marian Gaborik did his part to keep the goals flowing with the
sixth three-goal game of his career.
``I don't think anybody expected to be up and down like it was,'' Gaborik
said. ``With two defensive teams, you don't expect a lot of goals. It was a
good game to watch with a lot of odd-man rushes.''
Eric Rasmussen and Paul Martin also scored and Scott Gomez had three assists
for the Devils.
Sergei Zholtok scored for the seventh time in the last seven games for
Minnesota. Zholtok has goals in six of the last seven games.
``Well, we scored goals,'' Wild coach Jacques Lemaire said. ``That's what
people want. That's what we gave them.''
With the game tied at 3 after two periods, Gaborik completed his hat trick
with a power-play goal at 12:12 of the third on a feed from Alexandre Daigle.
Gionta pulled out the tie for the Devils when he tipped Scott Niedermayer's
shot past Wild goalie Manny Fernandez.
``It was real weird,'' Gionta said. ``It was uncharacteristic of both teams.
We both play defense. Obviously, we don't like to give up that many chances. We
scored four but only came out with a tie.''
In the end, the outcome seemed fair.
``It was a pretty evenly matched game,'' Devils coach Pat Burns said.
Rasmussen scored the only goal of the first period with 4:07 remaining, and
the two normally close-checking teams combined for five second-period goals.
Gaborik pulled Minnesota even 2:02 into the second period. Daigle eluded a
Devils defenseman behind the New Jersey goal and slid the puck to Gaborik, who
whipped a shot from the slot past Martin Brodeur.
New Jersey reclaimed the lead at 5:28 as intense power-play pressure paid
off with Martin's goal for a 2-1 lead.
Brodeur, known for his strong puck-handling, was victimized for the second
time in three games by his own poor clearing attempt. He fired the puck off the
boards only to have it intercepted by Zholtok, who fired it into the net before
Brodeur could get back into position at 6:38 of the second period.
Brodeur gave up a similar goal to Carolina's Jeff O'Neill in the Devils' 4-1
Gionta put the Devils back in front 3-2 at 10:06, before Gaborik tied the
game again with 1:59 remaining.