By Wild Road Tripper
The oldest member of the Minnesota Wild, 37-year-old Owen Nolan, and the Captain of the Wild, Mikko Koivu, teamed up tonight at Xcel Energy Center to sink the New York Islanders 3-2 as the Wild ended a 4-game losing streak. Nolan's two goals, his 5th and 6th of the season, started and ended the Wild scoring, while Koivu's 6th of the year, on a close-in shot beat Isles backup goalie Martin Biron. Nolan's 6th goal of the year propelled the Wild's record against the Eastern Conference to a respectable 4-1-2 after seven games against the other conference.
Nolan's first goal was a sharp-angle shot from the goal line which beat Biron 11:44 into the game. Nolan's last goal looked as if even he was surprised on, as Eric Belanger set him up by deftly passing the puck to an all-alone 'Irish God of War' in front of Biron, who put the winner away with just 1:07 remaining in the contest, to run the Wild's home record to 6-3 after 9 home games.
Niklas Backstrom made 29 saves (only 5 in the 3rd period), as did Biron for the Isles, as they drop to 3-5-5 on the road for the year. Jon Sim scored his 2nd goal of the season and assisted on Josh Bailey's fourth tally as the Isles took a 2-1 lead into the third period. Then the Wild took the game away from the Islanders as the pressure was indeed put on as the period waned.
A barely-sold-out crowd of 18,118 (54 over the 'X' 's seated capacity) cheered, well, wildly as the Wild ran their record to 8-11-2, 18 points, good for 14th place in the Western Conference, one point of cellar-dweller Anaheim, who was idle on Friday night.
The Wild return to action on Wednesday, Thanksgiving Eve, as the Boston Bruins come to town for a 7:00 PM start (Wild TV: KSTC-45. Boston TV: NESN. XM Radio: Ch. 238) in a game which will, once again, feature the Wild's new green third jerseys.