Largest hockey crowd in Minnesota disappointed


ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Detroit's ''Grind Line'' turned offensive
to help end Minnesota's surprising season-opening unbeaten streak.

Darren McCarty scored two goals off assists from linemate Kris
Draper as the Red Wings beat Minnesota 5-3 on Saturday night,
ending the Wild's unbeaten streak at four games.

''It's nice to see the line rewarded with some goals or some
offense because they do a good job down low,'' Detroit coach Dave
Lewis said. ''They get credit for checking, they get credit for
being physical and establishing a forecheck and it's really nice to
see the reward.''

The Wild took notice.

''They showed tonight why they are the best third or fourth line
in the league,'' Wild coach Jacques Lemaire said.

The Red Wings fell behind 2-0 early in the first period,
bringing roars from the 19,344 fans in attendance, several wearing
Red Wings jerseys. It was the largest crowd to attend a hockey game
in the state of Minnesota.

But the crowd, and the Wild offense, was hushed after McCarty's
second-period goal. The Wild had chances to tie the game, but
Detroit's defense rarely gave Minnesota a clean shot and Curtis
Joseph made 19 saves.

''They are a patient team that waits for chances,'' Minnesota's
Antti Laaksonen said. ''When you give them opportunities, like we
gave them, they are going to bury the puck.''

Nicklas Lidstrom, Brett Hull and Henrik Zetterberg added goals
to help the Stanley Cup champion Red Wings rebound from a home loss
to Montreal on Thursday night.

''We really covered back for each other in the third period,''
McCarty said. ''That's playoff type mentality and that's what we're
known for. We had to have a big third period and we did.''

Wes Walz, Bill Muckalt and Laaksonen scored for Minnesota, which
dropped to 3-1-1.

Walz opened the scoring 1:48 into the game. After taking a pass
from Muckalt, who tied a career high with three points, Walz faked
a backhander and wristed the puck past Joseph. Muckalt made it 2-0
at 7:42, scoring on a 2-on-2 breakaway with Laaksonen.

Detroit pulled to 2-1 on Hull's short-handed goal at 9:05, and
McCarty tied it with 3:54 left in the period after taking a sharp
pass from Kris Draper. Just 1:42 later, the Red Wings grabbed the
lead on Lidstrom's power-play goal.

''We got into a little bit of a hole and then bam-bam-bam, we're
back into it,'' Joseph said.

The Wild tied it 41 seconds into the second period when
Laaksonen, skating down the right side, fired a shot from just
above the circle past Joseph.

But McCarty answered for the Red Wings, picking up a loose puck
and beating Dwayne Roloson at 3:32 of the second. Zetterberg added
Detroit's fifth goal with 25 second left in the game.

Lemaire was pleased with the intensity his young team showed.

''It was a big challenge for us not only to win but to play a
good game and give ourselves a chance to win and I feel that we did
that,'' Lemaire said. ''So now our next challenge is the next

Joseph made his best save in the second period, stopping
Laaksonen on a breakaway. Roloson, the Wild's No. 2 goalie behind
Manny Fernandez, finished with 32 saves.

Game notes
Wild F Stephane Veilleux made his first NHL start. Veilleux
was recalled Thursday from Houston of the AHL. ... Hull's goal,
Detroit's league-leading third short-handed goal, was the first
first-period goal against Minnesota this season.