21 December 2007

Yea, We Were There

A bit of history in Saint Paul the other night:

Racing up the ice with the puck and only New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist in front of him, Marian Gaborik was not going to be denied. The third-period breakaway that gave Gaborik his fifth goal of Thursday's game was a vintage sequence by the 25-year-old Minnesota Wild star, whose smooth strides and speedy skates have energized the fledgling franchise since the young Slovakian became the first player it drafted in 2000.

Gaborik's was the first five-goal outing since Sergei Federov did it for Detroit on Dec. 26, 1996, in an overtime game against Washington. Pittsburgh's Mario Lemieux was the last to net five in regulation, on March 26, 1996, versus St. Louis.

Whether it was on a power play, a breakaway, or just by batting an errant puck out of the air, Gaborik scored every which way to lead the Wild to their fourth straight win. Lemaire said he had flashbacks to the great Guy Lafleur's goal-scoring success when they were teammates with Montreal in the 1970s.

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