GRAND FORKS, N.D. - Brian Rolston said "he's not great with the puck yet."
The Buffalo Sabres might be surprised to read that comment, since the veteran winger scored two goals in the Wild's 2-1 exhibition victory Monday night at Ralph Engelstad Arena.
"This is only the second game I've played, so I'll get better as we go along," Rolston said. "But I'm not there yet.
"I didn't have to do much. Basically, I could tee up both shots that I scored on."
The first teed-up shot was the result of Benoit Pouliot cleanly winning the faceoff back to Rolston at the point. The puck was on Rolston's stick quickly, and he sent a slapshot into the far corner, over goalie Jocelyn Thibault's glove for a power-play goal 35 seconds into the second period.
Rolston also was set up for the winner early in the third period, breaking a 1-1 tie. The play started with Pierre-Marc Bouchard winning a puck battle along the boards behind the Sabres' net. Bouchard shoveled the puck to Eric Belanger in the corner, who found Rolston alone between the circles.
Wild goalie Josh Harding made 25 saves, including four in a frantic last minute and another on a breakaway by Michael Ryan with five minutes left.
Gillies 'nervous, pleased'
Making his Wild preseason debut, first-round draft pick Colton Gillies had multiple emotions.
"At first I was so, so nervous," he said. "I didn't want to screw up and get scored upon. So I focused totally on the defensive end.
"The game seemed really quick until I got my nerves under control."
The 18-year-old said he settled down after a few shifts.
"I think I played well," he said. "I'm pleased. I stuck to the game plan, and I got a couple of good hits in."
Gillies is a long shot to stay with the Wild, but he saw the game as an opportunity to make an impression for the long term.
"I saw this as a one-day experience," Gillies said. "I'm not expected to stay up, but I'll be striving to make it next year. This year, I'm looking forward to playing in the World Juniors."
More on the youngsters
Pouliot centered a line all game. As one of the youngsters battling for the last two roster spots, he feels the pressure to perform.
"My situation does put pressure on you, not just in games but in practices, too," he said. "Your intensity has to be high all the time."