Wild Season Opener: Minnesota Tops Columbus, 4-2

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Wild Triumph Over Blue Jackets In Season Opener, 4-2

During the 2011 off-season, the Minnesota Wild swung two separate trades with the San Jose Sharks, netting them Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi in hopes that it could potentially make their offense more explosive. The pair wasted little time in justifying those hopes, as they both had points on Saturday night in Minnesota's 4-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets in the 2011-12 season opener at the XCel Energy Center.

Matt Cullen put the Wild on the board quickly in this one, notching a goal at the 1:10 mark of the first period on a goal assisted by Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Guillaume Latendresse to make the score 1-0. The goal was the fastest first goal of a season in Wild history, topping the previous speed record of Marc Chouinard in 2005.

At the 16:20 mark of the first period, defenseman Marco Scandella scored his first career NHL goal, a power play tally to extend the Minnesota lead to 1-0, with goalie Niklas Backstrom and Jared Spurgeon getting assists on the goal.

The Wild got another power play goal halfway through the second period, as Heatley got one past Columbus goalie Steve Mason to make the score 3-0, with the assists going to Bouchard and Marek Zidlicky. Columbus answered back on a goal by Derek Dorsett at the 17:53 mark of the period to cut the Minnesota advantage to 3-1, but Setoguchi answered back less than a minute later with his first goal in a Wild uniform to make the score 4-1. That was enough to get the Blue Jackets to pull Mason from goal, as he was replaced by Curtis Sanford at the start of the third period.

Maxim Mayorov got a goal with a little more than three minutes remaining in regulation, but it was too little, too late for the Blue Jackets as the Wild skated off with a 4-2 victory.

Minnesota went 2-for-4 on the power play on the evening, while not allowing Columbus to tally a goal in six opportunities with the man advantage. In addition, the goals by Heatley, Setoguchi, and Scandella marked the first time in the 11-year history of the Wild that three players scored their first goals in a Wild uniform in the same game.

The three stars for this one were

* - Backstrom, 29 saves and a .935 save percentage
** - Heatley, 1 goal and 1 assist
*** - Cullen, 1 goal

Minnesota will take to the road for their next couple of games, as they'll head east to take on the New York Islanders and the Ottawa Senators later this week. We will have all the coverage of those games for you right here at SB Nation Minnesota.

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Wild Season Opener: Saturday Night's Alright For Hockey

For the best coverage of the Minnesota Wild on the internet, be sure to make Hockey Wilderness a regular visit.

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