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Wings look to knock off streaking Wild

Saturday, 12.22.2007 / 8:34 AM ET / Preview
Associated Press
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Wings look to knock off streaking Wild

St. Paul - Marian Gaborik pulled off a rare feat the last time he took the ice.

Fresh off the NHL's first five-goal game in 11 years, Gaborik will look to help the Minnesota Wild match their longest winning streak of the season when they host the league-leading Detroit Red Wings on Saturday night.

Gaborik's outburst came during Minnesota's fourth straight win, a 6-3 victory over the New York Rangers on Thursday. The five-goal game was the first in the NHL since Sergei Federov did it for Detroit in an overtime game against Washington on Dec. 26, 1996.

Pittsburgh's Mario Lemieux was the last to tally five in regulation on March 26, 1996 versus St. Louis.

"One time I got five goals when I was playing back home for a pro club back there, but this is just totally different," Gaborik said. "You score five goals in the NHL it's just a totally different experience. To reach it here with these guys in front of our fans is just unbelievable."

Gaborik, the first player Minnesota drafted in 2000, has nine of the Wild's 13 hat tricks in franchise history. No Minnesota player had ever scored more than three times in one game.

"It was pretty amazing," said captain Mark Parrish, who had Minnesota's last three-goal game on Dec. 9, 2006. "He was banking 'em in out of the air, scoring on breakaways, skating through everybody with it, making highlight-film goals. My God, he was doing it every which-way tonight."

Gaborik, who leads the Wild (20-12-2) with 18 goals and 33 points, has eight goals and three assists during a six-game point streak. He also had an assist against the Rangers, matching his single-game career high with six points.

Gaborik has just five goals and seven assists in 19 career games versus Detroit.

Minnesota opened the season with five straight wins, including three shutouts. Matching that run, however, won't be easy as the Wild are 2-10-0 with two ties in their last 14 games against the Red Wings. Detroit (25-7-3) has earned a point in its last six games in Minnesota, including a tie and an overtime loss.

Detroit is coming off a 3-2 to St. Louis on Thursday, ending a 12-game point streak. The Red Wings, who have 53 points, had not lost in regulation since a 3-2 defeat at Nashville on Nov. 22.

"We competed hard," coach Mike Babcock said. "We had a good run where we won a lot of games, and now we have to start another streak."

The Red Wings beat Minnesota 5-0 on Dec. 7 in Detroit behind three goals from Henrik Zetterberg and 19 saves from Dominik Hasek.

Zetterberg, who leads Detroit with 50 points, has four goals and five assists in his last five games. He also has five goals and an assist in his last four games against the Wild.


H. Zetterberg 77 17 49 -6 66
P. Datsyuk 63 26 39 12 65
T. Tatar 82 29 27 6 56
G. Nyquist 82 27 27 -11 54
J. Abdelkader 71 23 21 3 44
N. Kronwall 80 9 35 -4 44
R. Sheahan 79 13 23 -3 36
D. Helm 75 15 18 7 33
D. DeKeyser 80 2 29 11 31
S. Weiss 52 9 16 -2 25
J. Howard 23 13 11 .910 2.44
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