Wild finally rewarded for full effort in victory over Stars

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 13, 2013 - 12:26 AM

Rookies Justin Fontaine and Matt Dumba both scored their first NHL goals on Saturday night.

 The floodgate was bound to open eventually if the Wild kept outchancing its opponents so dramatically. On Saturday night, the Wild forced that river fast and furiously yet again in one direction, and the dam finally broke.

After scoring nine goals in its first four games despite tilting the ice for long stretches, the Wild put up a five-spot against the Dallas Stars to take a 5-1 victory and sweep its two-game homestand.

“If you’re going to double up teams on shots night in and night out and outshoot teams by 10-plus shots, they’re bound to go in,” said forward Justin Fontaine, who knows especially.

That’s because Fontaine and fellow rookie Matt Dumba both scored their first NHL goals; Nino Niederreiter — looking like a keeper on the Zach Parise-Mikko Koivu line — had another strong game and was rewarded with his first goal in a Wild sweater; Parise scored his team-leading fourth; and Matt Cooke — dare we say becoming a fan favorite — potted his third in five games, his second consecutive winning goal and second consecutive two-point game.

Fontaine, the University of Minnesota Duluth product, scored 12 seconds in to establish a Wild record for fastest goal to start a game, besting teammate Dany Heatley’s 2012 record by a second.

“That’s a good way to start a night,” Fontaine said.

Told he broke a team record, Fontaine said, “I’d take [my first goal] no matter what way I got it, but that’s sweet.”

For the second consecutive game with Niklas Backstrom out with a knee injury, Josh Harding was barely tested but looked sound in net as he stopped 18 shots for his second consecutive victory.

The Wild outshot the Stars 36-19 and has outshot opponents 162-107 this season. The 2-1-2 Wild, which now hits the road for four, is allowing a league-low 21.4 shots per game.

“Tonight was a step in the right direction,” Cooke said. “Our young guys getting on the board and chipping in and our older guys leading the way, playing the right way; that was our first full 60-minute game.”

The game couldn’t have started better for the Wild. Cooke picked off defenseman Brenden Dillon’s errant pass and fed Fontaine below him. The 2011 college free-agent pickup, who won a national championship on the very same ice, whipped a backhand underneath Stars backup goalie Dan Ellis.

Ellis was then victimized the rest of the period by his teammates. They continually coughed up pucks, the most blatant coming when former Gopher Alex Goligoski handed it to Cooke behind the net.

A nanosecond later, Cooke scored. In five games with the Wild, the former Vancouver Canuck has three goals and five points and has made other impacts defensively, physically and by drawing penalties. He has yet to take a penalty.

More impressive, the Cooke-Kyle Brodziak-Fontaine line went head-to-head all night with the Dallas top line of Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley, which lit up Winnipeg the night before. The line went minus-2. “I let them know [Saturday morning] they were on that task, and they wanted it,” Coach Mike Yeo said.

From there, the Wild continued to pressure and turned a 2-0 lead into a 4-1 lead during a fifth consecutive one-sided second period.

Heatley was dropped to the second power-play unit and there were immediate dividends. He crossed a perfect pass and the teenage Dumba roofed his first goal. “I was fortunate to shoot into the top half of the net,” Dumba said.

Fontaine and Dumba became the fourth set of Wild players to score their first NHL goals in the same game. The last to do so was John Scott and Robbie Earl in 2009.

Just 2:20 later, Niederreiter, the former Islander, squeaked his third career goal just inside the post.

“We’re relying a lot on these young kids,” Yeo said. “ … Their teammates are gaining more and more confidence in these guys.”

  • related content

  • BOXSCORE: Wild 5, Dallas 1

    Sunday October 13, 2013

  • Photo gallery: Wild 5, Dallas 1

    Sunday October 13, 2013

    Wild vs. Dallas Saturday, Oct. 12.

  • Pominville excited about return to Buffalo for belated goodbyes

    Saturday October 12, 2013

    Jason Pominville, 30, a second-round pick in 2001, ranks sixth in Sabres history with 10 shorthanded goals and ninth with 271 assists. He was traded to Minnesota on an off...

  • Postgame: Young kids, defense again look stellar as Wild crushes Dallas

    Sunday October 13, 2013

    Justin Fontaine and Matt Dumba scored their first NHL goals, Matt Cooke scored the winner and the Wild yet again dominated an opponent

  • Wild-Dallas game recap

    Saturday October 12, 2013

    game recapStar Tribune’s Three Stars1. Justin Fontaine, Wild: Broke Dany Heatley’s record for fastest Wild goal to start a game...

  • Minnesota Wild defenseman Ryan Suter (20) and defenseman Jonas Brodin,...

  • Wild center Kyle Brodziak, right, watched as Justin Fontaine’s back-hander got past Dallas Stars goalie Dan Ellis.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Washington
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Denver
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Brooklyn 109 FINAL
Boston 107
Cleveland 98 FINAL
Orlando 89
Indiana 109 FINAL
Detroit 119
Milwaukee 107 FINAL
Atlanta 77
Houston 117 FINAL
Memphis 111
San Antonio 90 FINAL
New Orleans 97
Charlotte 75 FINAL
Oklahoma City 98
LA Lakers 98 FINAL
Dallas 102
Minnesota 102 FINAL
Denver 106
Philadelphia 74 4th Qtr 11:11
Portland 91
Phoenix 102 4th Qtr 10:30
Sacramento 90
Illinois 18 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 35
Rutgers 40 FINAL
North Carolina 21
NC State 34 FINAL
UCF 27
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
(15) Arizona State 12/27/14 1:10 PM
Duke
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 2:30 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Texas
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
Stanford
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
Minnesota
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Houston 1/2/15 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Iowa 1/2/15 2:20 PM
Tennessee
(11) Kansas State 1/2/15 5:45 PM
(14) UCLA
Washington 1/2/15 9:15 PM
Oklahoma State
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who is your favorite pro sports coach in the Twin Cities?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close