Brian Rolston had two goals and two assists for the Wild, who
were denied on their first seven opportunities with the man
advantage. They scored on the final two power plays, including
Rolston's tying shot with 5:45 left in regulation off a
behind-the-net pass from Alexandre Daigle.
"It's a character-builder for the team," said Roloson, who
stopped 30 shots and ended a six-start losing streak, improving to
4-10-1. He was an All-Star in 2004.
"Hopefully we can take the feeling from tonight's game and just
carry it on," Roloson said.
Minnesota, buried in last place in the competitive Northwest
Division, won for only the fifth time in 16 games. Eight of the
Wild's last nine losses were by one goal.
"We had to scratch and claw tonight, and that's what it's going
to be like for us every night," Rolston said. "We've got to
remember this effort and this feeling."
Was he thinking about a third score?
"We needed a win more than I needed a hat trick," Rolston
Michael Ryder's 15th goal made it 3-2 early in the third period
for the Canadiens, who missed a chance for a bigger lead when
Niklas Sundstrom's penalty shot hit the left post and bounced out
with 7:24 remaining in the final frame.
"We score there, and it's a different ballgame," coach Claude
Julien said. "We score on that, and I think the game is over."
This contest marked the first NHL meeting between the Koivu
brothers, centermen from Finland that are nine years apart. The
elder Saku, the Canadiens captain and scoring leader who is in his
10th season, won the faceoff against the younger Mikko, a Wild
rookie who was drafted sixth overall in 2001.
Saku, who missed Montreal's last five games because of a groin
injury and then the flu, and Mikko played for Finland's World Cup
runner-up team last year.
"It was a special game anyway," the elder Koivu said. "Taking
the faceoff was a nice thing from both coaches, to get us out there
for that. It was fun, but very awkward to play against him."
"It was just a tough loss," he said.
Huet filled in for Jose Theodore, who took a second-period slap
shot to the left knee during a 5-3 loss at Edmonton on Thursday.
The native of France has been on the roster for a month, but this
was his first NHL action since a 3-2 loss to Calgary on April 2,
2004, when he minded the net for Los Angeles.
Markov gave Huet a quick lead by blasting a slap shot from
halfway between the blue line and the back of the left circle that
blew by Roloson's glove, clanked against the right post and went in
with only 39 seconds elapsed.
The crowd booed Begin as he left, with Walz still down on the
ice, nearly motionless. The alternate captain was helped off by
teammates Pascal Dupuis and Marian Gaborik, returned at the end of
the period but didn't play anymore after that because of a strained
Walz was part of the group that was on the ice for Zednik's goal
with 2:02 remaining -- a perfectly timed poke of a rebound past
Roloson that made it 2-1.
Pierre-Marc Bouchard, who had two assists and leads Minnesota
with 18, set up Rolston for a 4-on-4 goal after the Wild limped
through a 5-minute power play with only one shot on net.
Huet made an outstanding stop in the second period, lifting his
left leg up while on his back to deny Todd White's shot from the
left of the crease at the end of a power play. White redeemed
himself a little later by scoring off a one-touch pass from Rolston
to tie it at 2.
Montreal LW Tomas Plekanec hurt his knee in the first
period and didn't return, prompting Julien to use only three lines
the rest of the game. ... Rolston has tallied two points six times
in 11 games, with five goals and eight assists during that stretch.
... The Koivus became the fifth set of siblings to face other in
the NHL this season. The others: Greg and Ryan Johnson, Frantisek
and Tomas Kaberle, Martin and Mathieu Biron, and Marcel and Marian