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Wild comeback drops Panthers

By Wire services
Published October 25, 2003

SUNRISE - Wild coach Jacques Lemaire had seen this too often and too recently.

Still, his struggling team overcame an early two-goal deficit to beat the Panthers 4-3 Friday night.

"I was reliving all the bad things that's been hitting us from the start," Lemaire said. "It's hard to stay up when you see all (the mistakes). We were making mistakes and giving them chances in the first period and then they were leading."

Alexandre Daigle scored to cap a three-goal flurry by Minnesota in the second period and Wes Walz added a third-period goal.

Dwayne Roloson stopped 30 shots as the Wild got its first road win in three tries this season.

Minnesota scored three times in 7:33 to take a 3-2 lead. Richard Park scored 4:43 in, followed by Antti Laaksonen at 8:18 and Daigle's power-play backhander.

Walz scored at 12:58 of the third to give the Wild an insurance goal that came in handy when Darcy Hordichuk scored with 1:54 left.

Florida, which hadn't scored more than twice in a game since tallying three on opening night, led 2-0 after goals by Ivan Novoseltsev and Olli Jokinen.

Novoseltsev scored 8:59 in on a pass from Kristian Huselius and fired the puck past Roloson just six seconds after a Florida power play had expired.

Nathan Horton, the team's No.1 pick (third overall) in June, earned his first point by assisting on the goal.

RED WINGS 4, STARS 0: Dominik Hasek made 22 saves for his first shutout since returning from his one-year retirement and Steve Yzerman scored twice for Detroit.

"When I played last year, I didn't feel as comfortable as I have on the ice the last couple of weeks," said Yzerman, who missed most of last season with injuries and scored two goals.

It was Hasek's 62nd shutout and Detroit set a franchise record with its 15th consecutive home win. The Red Wings won 14 straight during the 1964-65 season.

"I think he felt, I don't know, shaky early," Red Wings coach Dave Lewis said. "But he was solid later on."

Detroit scored twice in less than two minutes early in the second to lead 2-0.

DEVILS 2, PENGUINS 1: Brian Rafalski and Brian Gionta scored their first goals of the season off skate-deflected shots as the top line produced both goals for visiting New Jersey.

"It was good to get a couple of bounces like that," said Scott Gomez, who figured in both goals.

Mario Lemieux earned his 1,698th point by setting up Pittsburgh's goal. He is poised to become the sixth in history with 1,700.

Gomez steered the puck to Gionta at the top of the crease, and it deflected off Gionta's skate past rookie goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, who stopped 32 of 34 shots.

"We worked for those bounces," Devils coach Pat Burns said. "Gionta sacrifices himself to go to the net, and bounces are going to go your way when you do that."

BLUES 2, FLAMES 1: Jeff Heerema scored 46 seconds into the third and visiting St. Louis hung on.

Doug Weight also scored for St. Louis, which has played six of its first seven on the road. Chris Osgood made 25 saves for the Blues, 15 in the third.

Heerema, a rookie acquired off waivers from Carolina before the season, took a cross-ice pass from Pavol Demitra and one-timed a shot from 30 feet past goaltender Jamie McLennan.

SABRES 5, MIGHTY DUCKS 2: Taylor Pyatt scored the tiebreaking goal with 11:56 left Daniel Briere had three assists for visiting Buffalo.

Joffrey Lupul scored his first NHL goal and Petr Sykora connected on a power play for Anaheim.

After getting outshot 17-6 and outscored 2-0 in the second, the Sabres tied it at 2 with 16:19 left in the game. Pyatt got his fifth of the season when he converted his own rebound.

Blackhawks fire GM Smith

CHICAGO - The Blackhawks fired general manager Mike Smith, citing differences between him and coach Brian Sutter. Senior vice president Bob Pulford was named interim general manager.

"It had become apparent to me toward the end of last season and the beginning of this year that our general manager and head coach were not on the same page," Pulford said.

There had been reports since spring that Smith and Sutter have been at odds over philosophy. Smith wanted the team to play more of its young prospects.

Pulford said the dispute became intolerable last week when Smith, who was GM for three seasons, told members of the media that Sutter was out to get him.

CUJO REHAB START: Red Wings goalie Curtis Joseph made 20 saves in his first minor-league game in eight seasons, a rehabilitation start for Grand Rapids of the AHL. Joseph looked sharp in helping the Griffins beat Utah 4-1.

BLUES: Defenseman Barret Jackman, the league's rookie of the year last season, will miss 2-4 weeks with a dislocated left shoulder.

[Last modified October 25, 2003, 01:49:17]

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