Gaborik, Wild shoot down Stars

By Dave Campbell

Associated Press

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Marian Gaborik is finally healthy, skating and shooting as if he doesn’t want the season to end.

Gaborik kept up his remarkable scoring rate with a goal and two assists, and the Minnesota Wild avoided elimination from the playoff chase for at least three more days with a 3-1 victory over the Dallas Stars on Tuesday.

"It’s always nice to score ... but we got two points. We got a great win. It’s huge," Gaborik said, hardly exaggerating.


The Wild moved within one point of Nashville for ninth place after the Predators lost to Chicago, but St. Louis beat Phoenix later to remain three points ahead in eighth place. Minnesota hosts Nashville on Friday and finishes the season Saturday at Columbus, but is currently trailing in tiebreakers with both the Blues and the Predators.

"Buy your tickets. Get in line. It’ll be interesting," coach Jacques Lemaire said.

Eric Belanger and Owen Nolan each scored on the power play in the second period off rebounds of shots by Gaborik, who has eight goals and five assists in nine games since returning from hip surgery. Injuries have limited him to 15 games all season, but he has 11 goals and seven assists and has scored in five straight games.

"That’s exactly what we know he’s capable of doing," Lemaire said.

Gaborik, who became the second player in Wild history to appear in 500 games with the team, set the tone late in the first period by poking in a perfect touch pass from Andrew Brunette while James Sheppard screened Dallas defenseman Andrew Hutchinson.

"He’s well-rested," said Brunette, grinning as he teased his friend. Brunette added: "When he’s going like he is right now, going to the net and finding holes, he’s unstoppable."

Niklas Backstrom, making his team-record 19th straight start in goal for the Wild, made 27 saves.



Dallas 0 0 1 — 1

Minnesota 1 2 0 — 3

First Period — 1, Minnesota, Gaborik 11 (Brunette, Sheppard), 14:26.

Second Period — 2, Minnesota, Belanger 13 (Gaborik, Foster), 8:58 (pp). 3, Minnesota, Nolan 25 (Gaborik, Koivu), 14:28 (pp).

Third Period — 4, Dallas, Brunnstrom 15 (Ribeiro, Ott), 7:26.

Shots on Goal — Dallas 13-9-6 — 28. Minnesota 6-17-9 — 32.

Goalies — Dallas, Climie. Minnesota, Backstrom. A — 18,568 (18,064). T — 2:14.

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