Alexandre Daigle scored two goals Thursday night to lift the Minnesota Wild to a 5-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins at Mellon Arena.
It was the second time the Penguins (7-15-6) have been shut out this year. It also pushes the team’s losing streak to six games.
“I’ve had some times where I’ve lost a few in a row, but it’s been quite awhile for me [to experience something like this],” Penguins winger Mark Recchi said.
Pittsburgh has been outscored 23-9 in its six-game skid.
“This has nothing to do with [General Manager] Craig [Patrick]; this has nothing to do with ownership; this has to do with the coaches and the players that we have here,” Penguins coach Eddie Olczyk said. “This was the last thing that we saw coming after the way that we practiced and the way that we played in the last little while. This is the toughest game to take that we’ve played all season.”
Marian Gaborik needed just 1:04 to give Minnesota (11-12-4) a 1-0 lead. He stole the puck off Shane Endicott near the Pittsburgh blue line and broke in alone on Jocelyn Thibault. Then, Gaborik slid the puck into the net.
“If it was the first shift of the game or not [that got us down], I don’t know what it was,” Olczyk said. “Endo had the puck a foot from the blue line and tried to make a move. They stole it and the puck ended up in our net. You have to be able to overcome those mistakes."
Minnesota scored two more goals in the second period to grab a 3-0 lead over the Penguins.
Daigle, a former Penguin, deflected Andrei Zyuzin’s slap-shot past Thibault for a 2-0 Wild lead 4:32 into the second period. Wes Walz scored 7:24 into the second to make it a 3-0 Minnesota edge.
“Instead of simplifying things, we made them more difficult,” Olczyk said. “The two goals in the second period were just breakdowns in our own zone, which we haven’t been making.
“We all can work harder. We all can work smarter,” he continued. “Obviously, it’s not where we know we can be or where we think we need to be. Leadership had nothing to do with the way we performed. If you want to blame leadership, you can blame me, that’s for sure. That’s where it starts.”
Brian Rolston boosted the Wild lead to 4-0 just 2:04 into the third period. He backhanded a shot past Thibault.
Daigle tallied his second of the game late in the third period for a power-play goal.
Manny Fernandez turned away all 22 Pittsburgh shots to record the shutout.
The Penguins’ Ziggy Palffy, who missed Saturday’s game with a pulled groin, re-aggravated the injury in the second period Thursday and left the game. His status is unclear.
ICE CHIPS: Mario Lemieux, Lasse Pirjeta and Ric Jackman were the Penguins’ scratches…Filip Kuba, Derek Boogaard and Randy Robitaille were the Wild’s scratches…Pittsburgh’s Ryan VandenBussche and Alex Henry got into a scrum late in the first period…The announced attendance was 14,627.