Mikko Koivu set up three goals to surpass Marian Gaborik for the Minnesota Wild’s all-time lead in career points for the team during a 6-0 win over the New York Islanders Tuesday at the Nassau Coliseum.
The Wild entered the game scoring just seven goals in the last four games, including five goals from the top line of Mikael Granlund, Zach Parise and Jason Pominville.
Wild head coach Mike Yeo decided to change his forward lines a bit, with the exception of the top group, to try to ignite some secondary scoring.
He got that with five of the six goals Tuesday coming with a line other than the first line on the ice, including a power play goal in the third period.
Matt Moulson got the scoring started in his first game back to where his professional hockey career began on a rebound from a shot by new line mate Justin Fontaine. Moulson and Fontaine combine with Koivu, who recorded the other assist, to form the new second line.
The Wild (36-23-10) extended their lead when the new third line got one past Islanders goaltender Anders Nilsson at the 15:57 mark of the opening period. Jared Spurgeon rifled a shot from the top of circles just under the cross bar. Dany Heatley and Nino Niederreiter, both on the new third line with Charlie Coyle, recorded the assists.
The first line would not be outdone. The trio combined for the only goal of the second period when Pominville threaded a pass from behind the net to Granlund in the slot for a one-timer.
The Wild exploded in the third period with three goals on five shots to put the game away.
Clayton Stoner got his first goal of the season on a breakaway right out of the penalty box four minutes and 56 seconds into the final period. Koivu sprung Stoner with a long pass to tie the franchise’s record for points in a career.
Two minutes and 10 seconds later Justin Fontaine fired a shot off the post and just under the cross bar for the fifth tally of the night. Moulson sent an aerial pass across the blue line to spring Fontaine. Koivu started the rush to record his third assist of the night.
Moulson capped the scoring with a power play tally while playing with a pair of players on the new fourth line, Kyle Brodziak and Matt Cooke. Moulson corralled a rebound off a shot by Brodziak and deflection by Cooke in the slot and moved away from traffic for a clear shot at a partially open net.
The Islanders (26-35-9) dominated the first period with the greater offensive possession time, more scoring chances and a 16-6 edge in shots on goal. Edina native Anders Lee led the way with six shots on goal by himself.
Ilya Bryzgalov was equal to the task with several great saves, including a pair of deflections by his teammates.
No. 3 - Mikko Koivu. The Wild forward recorded three assists to become the franchise’s all-time leader in points.
No. 2 - Matt Moulson. The Wild forward scored two goals.
No. 1 - Ilya Bryzgalov. The Wild goaltender stopped 36 shots for his first shutout with the Wild.
Minnesota……2 1 3 - 6
New York……0 0 0 - 0
First Period - 1, Minnesota, Moulson 19 (Fontaine, Koivu), 12:23. 2, Minnesota, Spurgeon 4 (Heatley, Niederreiter), 15:57. Penalties - Lee, NYI (goaltender interference), 1:17; Prosser, MIN (elbowing), 13:28.
Second Period - 3, Minnesota, Granlund 7 (Pominville, Parise), 16:02. Penalties - None.
Third Period - 4, Minnesota, Stoner 1 (Koivu), 4:56. 5, Minnesota, Fontaine 13 (unassisted), 7:06. 6, Minnesota, Moulson 20 (Cooke, Brodziak), 16:34 (pp). Penalties - Stoner, MIN (cross checking), 2:48; Granlund, MIN (tripping), 11:39; Czuczman, NYI (hooking), 15:28; de Haan, NYI (interference), 17:37.
Shots on goal - Minnesota 6-11-5 22. New York 16-8-12 36.
Goalies - Minnesota, Bryzgalov (36-36). New York, Nilsson (16-22). Referees - Dave Jackson, Greg Kimmerly. Linesmen - Jonny Murray, Bryan Pancich.