For Brad Staubitz, the monkey on his back had been growing, daily.
Staubitz, who came to the Wild after two seasons in San Jose, scored his first goal in 80 games and his first with the Wild in Saturday's overtime loss to Columbus. He had been the only NHL forward who had played at least 60 games this season but hadn't scored a goal.
Staubitz, who also engaged in a lengthy fight with Columbus winger Derek Dorsett, was an assist away from a Gordie Howe hat trick.
"The monkey just kept getting bigger on my back," said Staubitz, a winger on a checking line who has five career goals. "So it was nice to get it and get that out of the way."
The goal came at 10:52 of the first period, less than two minutes after the Blue Jackets had taken a 1-0 lead. With Chuck Kobasew driving the middle, center John Madden came down the far side, waited, then sent a pass across the crease to the backside that Staubitz hammered home.
The fight came at 15:03 of the second period with the Wild up 2-1. Staubitz was whistled for charging when he hit Sami Lepisto behind the net. Lepisto turned his back at the last minute and Staubitz said he was into his glide before the hit. "I went in with the intention of hitting him clean," Staubitz said. Dorsett started a fight, which landed him penalties for being an instigator, for fighting along with a game misconduct.
The Wild played most of the final two periods with only five defensemen after Marco Scandella was lost -- perhaps for the rest of the season -- when a shot by Dorsett hit him and broke a finger.
The injury occurred early in the second period.
Nate Prosser was called up from Houston in time for Sunday's game with Montreal, because neither Cam Barker (back) or Marek Zidlicky (hamstring) are ready to return from injury.
For Scandella, it has been a difficult rookie season with the Wild. He missed a significant amount of time earlier in the season because of a concussion.
• The Wild will announce its 2011 NHL entry draft ticket plans for season-ticket holders soon after the completion of the regular season. The plan will include both priority tickets for season-ticket holders and tickets for the general public for the two-day event June 24-25.
• Wild draft choice Mikael Granlund, who was cross-checked in the face and then off the crossbar by Ossi Vaananen in a Finnish League playoff game Friday, was feeling better Saturday, according to Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher. Granlund did not play Saturday but could play Monday.
• With his former team Montreal in town for Sunday's game, Wild winger Guillaume Latendresse, who is out because of an lower body injury, was asked whether he'll play again this season. "I don't know, we'll see," he said.
• With both the Wild and the WCHA Final Five championship playing Saturday at Xcel Energy Center, and with the Montreal Canadiens in town for Sunday's game, the press box was jammed with coaches, including Nebraska Omaha hockey coach Dean Blais and Montreal coach Jacques Martin.