Latest comeback victory extends Wild's road winning streak to four

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 5, 2011 - 6:41 AM

Down two goals, the team scored on a two-man advantage to turn the tide.


Minnesota's Clayton Stoner, left, battles Anaheim's Saku Koivu for the puck.

Photo: Chris Carlson, Associated Press

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ANAHEIM, CALIF. - Instead of Devin Setoguchi blasting his techno inside the jubilant locker room after every Wild win, the forward known as "Techno Gooch" should change it up to Dashboard Confessional's "Bend And Not Break."

After all, that's the Wild mantra. Absolutely nothing fazes this team.

For the third consecutive road game Sunday night, the NHL's most habitual comebackers rallied from 2-0 down to take a lead. Only this time, the Anaheim Ducks tied it with a third-period goal.

Think that freaked out the Wild?

Please. The Wild simply put its "stick-to-it-ness" on display yet again, went on the attack, scored a late go-ahead goal and skated out of the Honda Center with a 5-3 triumph.

It was the league-leading 11th time the Wild won after giving up the first goal. Minnesota became the first team since the Buffalo Sabres in March 2006 to win three consecutive road games after trailing by at least two goals.

"This is not something we want to make a habit of, but it does speak to the character and the commitment and the relentless nature of the group of sticking with it," said Matt Cullen, who recorded his sixth career three-assist game.

The league-leading Wild won for a 14th time in 18 games and fourth in a row on the road thanks to a comeback generated by Dany Heatley, Casey Wellman and Pierre-Marc Bouchard.

But after Cam Fowler's shot deflected off a Wild skate midway through the third to tie it, Nick Johnson scored the winning goal with 5 minutes, 31 seconds remaining when Cal Clutterbuck's centering feed deflected off his skate. Johnson has a career-high five-game point streak.

"He was trying to slow down. We would have been pretty upset if they called it back," said Clutterbuck, who iced the game with an empty-netter, his league-leading fourth shorthanded goal.

Despite trailing 2-0 early on goals by Ryan Getzlaf and Saku Koivu, the Wild, which got 24 saves from Josh Harding, skated circles around the struggling Ducks, who looked like they were skating in quicksand during the first two periods.

The Wild shot from everywhere, taking 17 in the first period and outshooting the Ducks 30-13 through two. Jonas Hiller served up rebounds galore, and the Wild finally caught a break late in the first when Bobby Ryan and Toni Lydman took back-to-back penalties.

That gave the Wild a two-man advantage for 1 minute, 26 seconds. Since a passive 5-on-3 two games ago in Edmonton, coach Mike Yeo said to expect a new alignment designed by assistant Darryl Sydor next time.

As promised, Cullen replaced Jared Spurgeon, and Bouchard moved from the point down low with Setoguchi and Cullen. Mikko Koivu and Heatley manned the points.

Heatley was in perfect shooting position, and the turtleneck-wearing goal scorer fired a slapper through Setoguchi's screen with 3.2 seconds remaining in the first for a tide-turning goal.

"Big goal," said Heatley.

The second period belonged to the Wild, and finally, Wellman and Bouchard scored 32 seconds apart.

Bouchard made a beautiful play to hold up at the point as Cullen took a middle-lane drive and Wellman crashed the net. Bouchard hit Cullen with a lead pass, then Cullen hit Wellman at the goalmouth.

"Goal scorer's goal," Cullen said of Wellman's second tally in two games. Soon after, Bouchard took Fowler for a ride and roofed a backhanded beauty.

The Ducks pushed in the third, but the Wild bent ... and didn't break.


    Up next: 9:30 p.m. Tuesday at San Jose • TV: FSN (100.3-FM)

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Philadelphia - WP: A. Harang 5 FINAL
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