NEW YORK (AP) _ The New York Rangers gave former goalie Mike Richter a
silver-plated net and a shiny new boat. They just couldn't deliver a
Sergei Zholtok scored the tying goal early in the third period, and Marian
Gaborik added the winner with 6:26 left to rally the Minnesota Wild to a 4-3
victory Wednesday night.
Zholtok made it 3-3 with a power-play goal just 51 seconds into the final
period and Gaborik gave Minnesota the lead by snapping off a wrist shot from
the left circle. All-Star goalie Dwayne Roloson made the outlet pass to Antti
Laaksonen, who then got the puck to Gaborik.
``In between the second and third we talked about getting a jump on them,''
said Gaborik, who hadn't scored since Dec. 26.
The Rangers started slowly after a long pregame ceremony in which Richter
had his No. 35 raised to the Madison Square Garden rafters. But Jaromir Jagr
scored two goals and added an assist in the second period as New York took a
``It's my job to score goals, and I had my chances, but somehow the game
slipped and I don't know why,'' Jagr said.
Roloson stopped 25 shots to prevent the Rangers from winning consecutive
games for the first time since Dec. 29-30.
Zholtok, who also scored in the second period, had the 10th two-goal game of
his career. The Wild have earned points in five straight games (2-0-1-2) as
they try to creep back into the playoff hunt.
``It's crucial,'' Zholtok said. ``We are confident we can come back even
from a one-goal deficit in the third period.''
Laaksonen gave the Wild a 1-0 lead in the first period, and Zholtok
stretched it to a two-goal advantage in the second before Jagr took over.
Jagr set up Petr Nedved's goal 1:40 after Zholtok scored, and then Jagr
netted two goals 4:19 apart to give him his 14th straight 20-goal season in the
Jagr had his second three-point game in seven contests since the Rangers
acquired him from Washington. Martin Rucinsky and Bobby Holik each had two
assists for New York.
Laaksonen scored just 4:34 in when he ripped a shot between the pads of
Richter's replacement, Mike Dunham.
``We've got to get better goaltending, there's no doubt about it,'' Rangers
coach Glen Sather said. ``We're starting to score some goals but we can't give
up those kinds of goals.''
Wild coach Jacques Lemaire also chimed in about New York's goaltending in
the midst of praising Richter. Lemaire was the coach of the New Jersey Devils,
who were beaten by the Rangers in 1994 en route to New York's first Stanley Cup
title in 54 years.
``He was hard to beat, competitive. One of the great ones,'' Lemaire said.
``Maybe he's the guy they're missing now to get the Cup.''
The Rangers are trying to get the playoffs for the first time since 1997.
They are in 10th place, eight points out of a postseason position.
Zholtok scored his first with help from a fortuitous bounce of the puck.
Alexandre Daigle's shot hit a crowd in front and deflected over to Zholtok, who
slapped in a poor-angle shot from the bottom of the right circle.
``You can say lucky bounces, but we had a power-play goal and scored on a
rush, and it was enough to win,'' Zholtok said.
Nedved cut New York's deficit in half when he followed up his backhander
that was kicked out by Roloson. Nedved charged in and knocked his second
backhanded shot in at 5:53.
Jagr tied it just under six minutes later. Martin Rucinsky made a pass from
the No. 35 logo painted behind the goal in Richter's honor out to Jagr, who
snapped a quick shot into the open left side of the net.
New York grabbed its first lead at 15:41. Jagr curled in the right circle
with the puck and let a shot go that was stopped by Roloson. But he couldn't
control the rebound that Jagr found and slid in through traffic.