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Minnesota Wild blow three goal lead; lose to Islanders

Nino Niederreiter (22) and Justin Fontaine (14) battle for the puck in front of the net in the Minnesota Wild's 5-4 loss to the New York Islanders Sunday at the Xcel Energy Center.
Nino Niederreiter (22) and Justin Fontaine (14) battle for the puck in front of the net in the Minnesota Wild's 5-4 loss to the New York Islanders Sunday at the Xcel Energy Center.
Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

The Minnesota Wild had the New York Islanders on the ropes, but failed to put the worst team in the Metropolitan Division away Sunday at the Xcel Energy Center.

The Wild (20-16-5) jumped out to a 3-0 on goals by Ryan Suter, Jonas Brodin and Nino Niederreiter. However, the game completely turned around after the got their third goal. By the three minute mark of the second period, the Wild had a 20-10 edge in shots on goal. Then something just flipped.

“I really don’t know,” Koivu said. “There is no explanation. This just can’t happen.”

Suter beat Islanders goaltender Kevin Poulin after a rebound bounced to him in the slot three minutes and 22 seconds into the game. Jonas Brodin scored 39 into the second period with wrist shot in the slot through a screen by Niederreiter. Niederreiter then scored his goal two minutes and 20 seconds later.

Then the turnaround came. The Islanders starting pecking away at the Wild beginning with a goal by John Taveras near the midway mark and Cal Clutterbuck cut the deficit to one with one minute and two seconds remaining in the middle frame.

“At the end of the second period there,” Islanders defenseman Thomas Hickey said. “We had some really good zone time. You could just feel it in the building that the tide was turning. We were coming and we’re going to get a good chance to win it.”

The Islanders (12-21-7) entered the game losers of nine of their last 12 games, including a 2-1 home loss to the New Jersey Devils Saturday. They were flat in the opening period and were fortunate to be within a goal at the first intermission.

“We weren’t very good (in the first period),” Cal Clutterbuck said. “They had a stranglehold on the game there for a little while. It probably could have been more than 1-0 after the first period.”

After the Islanders took their first lead of the game at the 12:13 mark of the third period, the Wild answered when Justin Fontaine pulled a loose puck away from Islanders goaltender Kevin Poulin and shot it over him. The Islanders lead lasted just one minute and 32 seconds.

Kyle Okposo scored his second goal of the game just 27 seconds after Fontaine scored for the game-winning goal.

The Wild return to action Tuesday against the St. Louis Blues at the Xcel Energy Center.

Three Stars

No. 3 - Nino Niederreiter. The Wild forward scored a goal and added an assist.

No. 2 - Thomas Hickey. The Islanders defenseman had one goal and two assists.

No. 1 - Kyle Okposo. The Islanders forward had two goals and one assist.


New York……0 2 3 - 5

Minnesota…..1 2 1 - 4

First Period - 1, Minnesota, Suter 1 (Rupp, Mitchell), 3:22. Penalties - McDonald, NYI, major (fighting), 12:35; Mitchell, MIN, major (fighting), 12:35; Ness, NYI (hooking), 18:10.

Second Period - 2, Minnesota, Brodin 7 (Koivu, Niederreiter), :39. 3, Minnesota, Niederreiter 7 (Koivu), 2:59. 4, New York, Taveras 14 (Vanek, Okposo), 8:45. 5, New York, Clutterbuck 5 (Hickey, Nelson),18:58. Penalties - Ballard, MIN (hooking), 5:11; Clutterbuck, NYI (tripping), 8:59; Granlund, MIN (holding), 15:49.

Third Period - 6, New York, Hickey 2 (McDonald, Strome), 6:30. 7, New York, Okposo 13 (Hickey, MacDonald), 12:13. 8, Minnesota, Fontaine 8 (Cooke, Scandella), 13:45. 9, New York, Okposo 14 (Vanek), 14:12. Penalties - Cizikas, NYI (cross checking), 2:31; de Haan, NYI (holding), 15:02; Brodziak, MIN (hooking), 17:29.

Shots on goal - New York 8-12-11 31. Minnesota 16-7-14 37.

Goalies - New York, Poulin (33-37). Minnesota, Harding (26-31). Referees - Gord Dwyer, Dan O’Halloran. Linesmen - Ryan Galloway, Brian Mach.

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