- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 25, 2009

NEW YORK (AP) - Jacques Lemaire didn’t win 11 Stanley Cup titles by worrying about injuries, and he isn’t about to start now.

With only nine games left in the regular season, the Minnesota Wild are facing an uphill climb in the Western Conference playoff race and they might have to go the rest of the way without captain and leading scorer Mikko Koivu.

“I don’t want to think about that. He’s not here,” coach Lemaire said Tuesday night after his punchless Wild lost 2-1 to the New York Rangers.

Minnesota’s lone goal was scored by Marian Gaborik, who played just his second game after missing 38 following hip surgery. The soon-to-be unrestricted free agent will have to pick up a lot of the scoring slack created by Koivu’s knee injury that will sideline him for at least a week, maybe more.

The Wild have scored the second-fewest goals in the West (184).

“Everyone has to step up their game and pull as a team,” said Gaborik, who has four goals in eight games this season. “It’s a challenge. It’s pressure for myself and I think for everybody here. We need to challenge each other and just go out there and give everything. Responsibility and pressure come with it. That’s the way it goes.”

The Wild are 11th in the West, three places and two points below the postseason cutoff. Lemaire has reached the playoffs in nine of 14 seasons as a coach. He won the Stanley Cup 10 times as a player with the Montreal Canadiens and once as head coach of the New Jersey Devils.

Minnesota started a four-game road trip on Tuesday night and lost for the third time in five contests. The Wild visit the New York Islanders on Wednesday before another set of back-to-backs at Calgary and Edmonton this weekend.

“I like the way we played,” Lemaire said after Tuesday’s frustrating loss. “The only thing we can do is play as good as this. I am talking about the intensity.”

Nikolai Zherdev had a goal and an assist, and Scott Gomez also scored for the Rangers (39-27-8), who bounced back from a 2-1 loss to Ottawa on Sunday and won for the eighth time in 11 games to move into a flat-footed tie with Pittsburgh for sixth place in the East.

The Rangers and Penguins are five points ahead of ninth-place Florida with eight games remaining.

Henrik Lundqvist had a relatively easy effort against the defensive-minded and short-handed Wild, who were outshot 30-19.

“We bounced back with a good solid effort to get two points,” Lundqvist said. “It felt like they were just waiting for our mistakes, but we didn’t make many and that is why we won.”

Ducks 2, Predators 1, SO

At Nashville, Tenn., Teemu Selanne scored the only shootout goal and the Ducks won their fourth straight to climb over the Predators into eighth place in the West.

Both teams have 78 points with nine games left. The Ducks have one more victory than the Predators, who have lost three straight.

Jean-Sebastien Giguere stopped Nashville’s Radek Bonk to seal the win.

Red Wings 3, Oilers 2

At Edmonton, Alberta, Valtteri Filppula scored with 1:26 left and Detroit moved back into first place overall in the NHL.

Jonathan Ericsson and Marian Hossa also scored for the Red Wings (49-16-9), who won for the fifth time in six games and moved a point ahead of idle San Jose.

Denis Grebeshkov and Ales Kotalik scored for the Oilers (35-29-9), who remained in seventh in the West, one point ahead of Nashville and Anaheim.

Maple Leafs 3, Capitals 2, SO

At Toronto, Curtis Joseph stopped eight shots in overtime and Washington’s three shootout chances after entering the game late in the third period.

Joseph replaced Martin Gerber with 56 seconds left in the third after Gerber was ejected for pushing referee Mike Leggo and shooting a puck in his direction. Gerber was upset after Brooks Laich stuffed the puck under him to tie it at 2.

Alex Ovechkin scored his league-leading 51st goal but was stopped on the Capitals’ final shootout attempt.

Phil Oreskovic and Pavel Kubina scored for Toronto.

Canucks 5, Stars 2

At Dallas, Daniel Sedin scored the go-ahead goal moments after taking a stick to the mouth, and Ryan Kesler and Henrik Sedin each had two goals for the Canucks.

Vancouver is 17-4-1 over its past 22 games and has 87 points, setting up a tie with Chicago for fourth in the West.

Roberto Luongo stopped 35 shots to help the Canucks snap a four-game road losing streak.

Brendan Morrison and James Neal scored for the Stars, 4-11-1 since Feb. 21.

Canadiens 6, Thrashers 3

At Montreal, Alex Tanguay had two goals and three assists, and the Canadiens snapped a five-game losing streak to regain sole possession of eighth place in the East.

Alex Kovalev had two goals and an assist and Saku Koivu had a goal and two assists as they teamed up with Tanguay _ who enjoyed the third five-point game of his career _ on a newly formed line that produced 11 points.

Glen Metropolit also scored for Montreal, which won for just the second time in seven games (2-3-2) since general manager Bob Gainey took over behind the bench after firing coach Guy Carbonneau on March 9.

Lightning 2, Blue Jackets 1, OT

At Tampa, Fla., Martin St. Louis scored with 1:56 left in overtime and the Lightning ended a six-game home skid.

St. Louis has six goals and eight assists in a nine-game point streak for Tampa Bay.

Jan Hejda put the Blue Jackets ahead 1-0 at 4:21 in the third but the Lightning tied it midway through the period on Ryan Malone’s 25th goal of the season.

Blues 2, Kings 0

At St. Louis, rookie Patrik Berglund scored twice in the third period and Chris Mason made 22 saves for his fifth shutout of the season.

The Blues have 77 points, one behind Nashville and Anaheim for the final spot in the West with nine games to go.

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