OTTAWA (TICKER) —The Minnesota Wild proved they can play with the cream of the crop and set a team record while doing it.
The win was the 13th of the season on the road for Minnesota, the most in its three-year history.
After allowing just four goals in his previous three appearances against Ottawa, Roloson stopped 12 shots in the first period, nine in the second and seven in the third for his third shutout of the season and 10th of his career.
“We played our system of getting pucks out from our own blue line and we were able to keep them to the outside for most of the game,” Roloson said. “I wouldn’t say I had to come up big at all. I’ve been working on my movement with (goaltending consultant) Bob Mason and everything seems to be working out positively.”
Richard Park gave Roloson all the support he needed, netting his 12th goal midway through the first. Defenseman Lubomir Sekeras scored a power-play goal less than six minutes into the third and Gaborik tallied for the first time since January 25 to improve the Wild’s record to 22-0-1 when leading after two periods.
“It’s nice to get the monkey out of my back,” Gaborik said. “It’s very exciting to get a goal in a winning game. If we come out there as a group, five up and five down, we can play against anybody.”
Patrick Lalime turned aside just 16 shots for the Senators, who had not been blanked at home since December 15, 2001 by New Jersey.
“It was a typical game for them,” Lalime said. “They just waited to get their chances and when they scored, they just played defensive. We had our chances but didn’t put it in. That was the difference.”
“Tonight’s first 20 minutes was pretty ugly, but Dwayne and Manny (Fernandez) have saved our hides all year,” Minnesota left wing Andrew Brunette said. “We’ve beaten a lot of teams this year, but this is a big one coming in here, where they’re 22-5-2-1 and pretty dominant.”
Losers of three of their previous four games, the Wild grabbed the lead at 12:20 of the first when Park redirected defenseman Filip Kuba’s one-timer from the top of the left faceoff circle past Lalime from alone in front.
“We had some pressure on them and I think they got running around a bit,” Park said. “(Pascal) Dupuis made a nice play to Kuba on the point. His shot came and I got my stick on it and it went in.”
Nursing the one-goal advantage through the second period, Minnesota capitalized on an Ottawa penalty to take a 2-0 lead.
Just 17 seconds after Magnus Arvedson was whistled for interference, Jim Dowd made a backhanded pass from the left circle to Sekeras, who whipped a shot from the high slot by Lalime at 5:54 for his second goal of the season.
Gaborik sealed Minnesota’s first-ever win over the Senators at 9:17, beating Lalime high to the short side with a shot from the left faceoff dot for his first point in seven games.
“In the third, we played our best hockey, which is great, especially at this time of year as we’re trying to make the playoffs,” said coach Jacques Lemaire, whose team moved ahead of Anaheim for sixth place in the Western Conference. “To beat a team like this is a huge victory for us. Every team we play is hard, but we got the breaks tonight.”
“We played pretty solid through two periods. We did a good job limiting their chances and creating some opportunities for our team,” Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson said. “They just capitalized on the few chances they had and their goalie played great.”