The Minnesota Wild have made it a habit of allowing the first goal.
Friday was no different as the Wild defeated the New Jersey Devils 4-2 at the Xcel Energy Center, despite giving up the first tally.
No other team in the NHL has allowed the first goal of a game more times than the Wild (the Calgary Flames are tied at 16).
The Wild (16-7-3) has proven all that matters is how you finish and not how you start with an NHL-high 10 wins when giving up the first goal (a .625 winning percentage).
Dany Heatley provided the response with a wrist shot that got through Martin Brodeur just 20 seconds after Zach Parise got the Devils on the board first.
Parise’s goal at the 2:54 mark of the first period was his first in three games at the Xcel Energy Center. The Minnesota native later recorded an assist on the Devils' second goal.
The Wild took the lead for good at the 6:55 mark of the opening period when Kyle Brodziak took a loose puck at center and raced around Devil defenseman Anton Volchenkov and Brodeur.
Brodziak later put the game away with a breakaway shot that beat Devils backup goaltender Johan Hedberg with three minutes and 36 seconds remaining.
Brodeur was replaced in goal by Hedberg at the 8:17 mark of the first period when Casey Wellman scored his first goal of the season. It is the second shortest outing of Brodeur’s career (his shortest is an eight minute effort against Carolina on Jan. 1, 2011).
No. 3 – Josh Harding. The Wild goaltender stopped all 22 shots he faced in relief.
No. 2 – Zach Parise. The Devils forward recorded a goal and an assist.
No. 1 – Kyle Brodziak. The Wild forward scored two goals.
New Jersey 2 0 0 – 2
Minnesota 3 0 1 – 4
First Period – 1, New Jersey, Parise 7 (Greene, Henrique), 2:54. 2, Minnesota, Heatley 7 (Spurgeon, Backstrom), 3:14. 3, Minnesota, Brodziak 7 (unassisted), 6:55. 4, Minnesota, Wellman 1 (Cullen, Bouchard), 8:17. 5, New Jersey, Kovalchuk 6 (Parise), 13:59. Penalties – Brodziak, Min (slashing). 14:44; Clarkson, NJ (goaltender interference), 17:21.
Second Period – None. Penalties – Gillies, Min (hooking), 5:48.
Third Period – 6, Minnesota, Kyle Brodziak 8 (Johnson, Scandella), 16:24. Penalties – Schultz, Min (holding), 9:30; Tedenby, NJ (boarding), 15:51; Setoguchi, Min (interference), 16:12; Heatley, Min (hooking), 19:10; Clarkson, NJ (boarding), 19:51.
Shots on goal – New Jersey 9-12-10 31. Minnesota 6-6-4 16.
Goalies – New Jersey, Brodeur (1-4), Hedberg (11-12). Minnesota, Backstrom (7-9), Harding (22-22). A – 17,310. Referees – Dan O’Halloran, Rob Martell. Linesmen – Brian Mach, Lonnie Cameron.