Bombardir helps spoil Rangers' opener


ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- Already a defensive-minded team, the
Minnesota Wild are without their top three scorers from last year.

They did just fine looking a little further down the list for
offense Friday.

Brad Bombardir capped a crazy second period with the go-ahead
goal to give the Wild their first victory ever over the Rangers and
spoil New York's season opener 5-3.

Enforcer Matt Johnson, who had only three goals last year, also
scored in the second. Bombardir, a defenseman, had one of his seven
career goals last season.

"To be successful, you need everyone to chip in at different
times," said Minnesota coach Jacques Lemaire, who is missing
Marian Gaborik and Pascal Dupuis to holdouts. Free agent Cliff
Ronning wasn't re-signed.

The Rangers had won the five previous meetings with the Wild,
including three at Xcel Energy Center. They led 3-1 midway through
the second after Tom Poti and Matt Barnaby scored 43 seconds apart.

"We were just able to battle back with the typical character of
this hockey club," Bombardir said.

Filip Kuba and Johnson brought Minnesota back to a tie with
goals spanning just 28 seconds. A delayed penalty was called on the
Rangers with less than 5{ minutes left in the second, and the Wild
took advantage. Sergei Zholtok dropped a behind-the-back pass to
Andrew Brunette, who found Bombardir open at the blue line.

Bombardir's shot sailed over New York goalie Mike Dunham's
shoulder, and the overflow sellout crowd of 18,568 left happy after
the Wild's fourth home opener. They were 8-1-2 in October last year
and went on a surprising run to the Western Conference finals,
where they were swept by Anaheim.

"This is the time of year when you look for any points
possible," Zholtok said.

The big-budget Rangers haven't made the playoffs since 1997.
They were looking for a better start to their first full season
under Glen Sather -- the president and general manager who added
coach to his title last January when he fired Bryan Trottier.

New York outshot Minnesota 28-19 (including 10-1 in the final
period), but they were scoreless on eight power-play chances.

"We kept trying to do the things we were trying to prevent last
month," Sather said, referring to training camp. "In the second
period, we had 21 turnovers. You can't win a hockey game like that.
We've got to do better."

Lemaire put three newcomers -- Alexandre Daigle, Marc Chouinard
and Christoph Brandner -- on a line together to keep Rangers star
Eric Lindros in check. It worked.

"There were some basic things that we had some miscues on,"
Lindros said. "You're forced to press and the defense is forced to
pinch, then you get a bad break on a two-on-one and that's the

Lindros was talking about Daigle's goal with 3:07 remaining that
put the game away. Daigle was trying to pass to Willie Mitchell,
but the puck glanced off the shaft of Poti's stick and past Dunham.
That was Minnesota's only shot of the third period.

"It's kind of early to start worrying about things," Poti
said. "We just have to get back after it."

Game notes
Manny Fernandez made 25 saves for Minnesota. ... Jan Hlavac
scored for the Rangers in the first period. ... The Wild honored
the late Herb Brooks with a video tribute before the game, and
surviving family members participated in a ceremonial puck drop.
Brooks, who coached the Rangers from 1981-85 after leading Team USA
to the gold medal at the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics, died in a car
accident in August. ... D Brian Leetch (ankle), RW Pavel Bure
(knee) and G Dan Blackburn (shoulder) are on New York's injury
reserve list. RW Richard Park (knee) is on Minnesota's list. ...
Lindros was hit in the face by an inadvertent high stick in the
corner from Minnesota's Wes Walz during the first period, but
Lindros later returned. The Wild were called for four high-sticking
penalties. ... D Alex Henry, claimed by Minnesota off waivers on
Thursday from Washington, was scratched.