Wild complete dramatic comeback against Islanders
ST. PAUL - After a slow start to his career, Minnesota Wild right winger Nino Niederreiter has forged an impressive comeback. On Tuesday, Niederreiter's goal late in the third period capped off an improbable comeback as Minnesota rallied from a t...
ST. PAUL – After a slow start to his career, Minnesota Wild right winger Nino Niederreiter has forged an impressive comeback.
On Tuesday, Niederreiter’s goal late in the third period capped off an improbable comeback as Minnesota rallied from a three-goal deficit to beat the New York Islanders 5-4.
Trailing 3-0 after a period and 4-1 after 40 minutes, the Wild (15-10-1) got third-period goals from center Mikko Koivu, left winger Erik Haula and left winger Thomas Vanek and out-shot the Islanders 27-8 over the final two periods. Right winger Jason Pominville scored on a second period power play for the Wild’s first goal, and goalie Niklas Backstrom had 15 saves.
With the game tied 4-4, Niederreiter poked a loose puck past Johnson during a pileup in front of the New York net. Niederrieter, drafted by the Islanders with the fifth pick in the 2010 draft, managed just three points in 64 games on Long Island before being traded to Minnesota, where he has established himself as a goal scorer.
“It was just kind of laying on the ground, and I just tried to drop the puck in there somehow,” said Niederreiter, who leads the Wild with 12 goals. “It definitely felt really, really good. Such a great comeback. When (Haula) got the tying goal, we were just buzzing and trying to get the next one before regulation ends, and that’s what happened and obviously we’re very happy about it.”
Right winger Michael Grabner, center Brock Nelson and left winger Matt Martin built a three-goal lead for the Islanders (19-9-0) after 20 minutes, and goalie Chad Johnson stopped 25 shots but New York missed a chance to move into first place in the Metropolitan Division with a win. Center Josh Bailey also scored for the Islanders.
“They shot three pucks to the net and scored,” said Islanders coach Jack Capuano, of his team’s third period collapse. “So you’ve got to have the will to defend around your goalie. I could have a little bit of concern if it’s our foundation or our framework or our structure, but you’ve got to find a way.”
The Islanders notched six of the game’s first seven shots on goal, including the first one to elude Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom. Grabner, who was activated last week after missing the first two months of the season due to early October hernia surgery, got his second goal in as many games, snapping a shot through a crowd from the high slot.
NY Islanders 3 1 0- 4
Minnesota 0 1 4- 5
First Period-1, NY Islanders, Grabner 3 (Lee, Reinhart) 8:31. 2, NY Islanders, Nelson 14 (Leddy, Tavares) 17:15 (pp). 3, NY Islanders, Martin 3 (Hickey, Visnovsky) 17:47.
Second Period-4, Minnesota, Pominville 6 (Suter, Koivu) 9:01 (pp). 5, NY Islanders, Bailey 4 (Grabovski, de Haan) 17:17.
Third Period-6, Minnesota, Koivu 5 (Zucker) 2:51. 7, Minnesota, Haula 3 (Carter, Spurgeon) 11:03. 8, Minnesota, Vanek 3 (Parise, Suter) 11:48. 9, Minnesota, Niederreiter 12 (Vanek, Suter) 15:27.
Shots on Goal-NY Islanders 11-1-7-19. Minnesota 3-12-15-30.
Power-play opportunities-NY Islanders 1 of 5. Minnesota 1 of 5.
Goalies-NY Islanders Johnson 5-4-0 (30 shots-25 saves). Minnesota Backstrom 4-2-1 (19-15).
A-18,904 (18,064). T-2:36