Second period key for WildRookie defenseman Jonas Brodin’s first NHL score highlighted a three-goal second period by the Minnesota Wild in a 5-3 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday night.
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Rookie defenseman Jonas Brodin’s first NHL score highlighted a three-goal second period by the Minnesota Wild in a 5-3 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday night.
Devin Setoguchi and Mikko Koivu also scored in the decisive middle frame. Ryan Suter had a season-high three assists and Matt Cullen and Zach Parise each had two assists to help the Wild improve to 10-3-1 at home and bounce back from a stinging loss two nights ago. Koivu added an empty-netter with 33 seconds remaining to seal it.
P.A. Parenteau had two goals for the Avalanche, the second with 13:17 left in the game to prevent the Wild from coasting to the finish.
Gabe Landeskog also scored and Erik Johnson had two assists for the Avs, but they were outshot 40-32.
Minnesota got the opening goal for the sixth straight game when Torrey Mitchell, whose apparent score against Anaheim here Tuesday was waved off after a video review, sent a shot through goalie Semyon Varmalov’s armpit barely 3 minutes in.
The Wild led the Ducks for most of that matchup and held a 22-7 shots advantage through the first two periods before giving up a late goal and losing 2-1 in regulation. Their forecheck was fierce again two nights later, and with Pierre-Marc Bouchard moved up to the second line the trio with him, Cullen and Setoguchi were especially buzzing all over the ice.
Brodin, one of a handful of well-regarded prospects the Wild have begun to work into their lineup, has played beyond his years on the blue line with the veteran Suter. He sent a snap shot past Varmalov from the left circle less than 2 minutes later.
NHL map takes shape after realignment approved
NEW YORK — The NHL map is finally in order with Detroit and Columbus heading east, and Winnipeg moving west.
“We’re thrilled, absolutely thrilled,” Blue Jackets executive John Davidson said on a telephone conference call Thursday, shortly after the realignment plan was approved in a vote by the league’s board of governors. “We tend to use the (term) common sense around here. This seems to make a lot of common sense.”
The new format goes into effect next season, and will feature two eight-team divisions in the Eastern Conference, including the Red Wings and Blue Jackets. The Jets will now be part of a Western Conference that’s made up of two seven-team divisions.
It’s a plan that Commissioner Gary Bettman called “fan-friendly,” because it aligns teams by divisions that are mostly in the same time zones. And Bettman noted it will re-establish numerous rivalries by geography and tradition.
The new format also creates changes in determining the 16-team playoff field. The top three teams in each division will qualify for the postseason. The next two teams with the best records in each conference will then earn wild-card berths.
The Dallas Stars, Colorado Avalanche and Minnesota Wild should also benefit from the change. They will now be in a division mostly made up of teams that play in the same Central time zone.
Stars CEO Jim Lites said the switch from the Pacific Division will benefit his players and fans.
Lites said TV ratings dropped by as much as 60 percent because of the later start times when the Stars played against their division rivals on the West Coast. He also noted that the team lost between seven and 10 practice days a season because of travel.
“No one is a bigger beneficiary in this than the Dallas Stars,” Lites said.
It’s no different for Columbus.
“I’ve done a lot of town hall conferences with our fans here, and 99.999 (percent) of our fans really wanted to desperately be in the East,” Davidson said. “So when you get out the ledger sheet and you go pros and cons, I don’t think there is anything on the negative side. This is all positive.”
All teams will play each other both home and away at least once each season. And teams will play division rivals at least four times a season.
With Detroit and Toronto set to be in the same division, it revived questions of whether the two will meet in the league’s annual Winter Classic next season. The two were supposed to play at Michigan Stadium on Jan. 1 this season, before that game was wiped out as a result of the NHL lockout.
Bettman hinted of that being a possibility.
“We think the notion of having Toronto play Detroit at the ‘Big House’ is a good thing to do,” Bettman said. “Beyond that, you’ll just have to wait and see.”
On other issues, Bettman said talks are ongoing with Olympic officials regarding whether the NHL will participate in next year’s Winter Games at Sochi, Russia. Bettman said he had talks this week, and that league executives Bill Daly and John Collins have traveled to Sochi.
Regarding the Phoenix Coyotes ownership search, Bettman said the league’s working with a number of groups who have expressed interest in purchasing the franchise since Greg Jamison’s bid fell through two months ago.
“We are hoping to — in the not too distant future — get one of them to the place where we can move the transaction forward,” Bettman said.