Final

Series (Game 1 of 2)

Series tied 1-1

Game 1: Tuesday, September 19th
Red Wings2Final
Wild3
Game 2: Wednesday, September 27th
Wild3Final
Red Wings5

Red Wings 2

(0-1-0, 0 pts)

Wild 3

(1-0-0, 2 pts)

8:00 PM ET, September 19, 2006

Xcel Energy Center, Saint Paul, Minnesota

1 2 3 T
DET 1 1 02
MIN 2 0 13

M. Gaborik (RW):

B. Burns (RW):

P. Ratchuk (D):

Minnesota 3, Detroit 2

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- Marian Gaborik is paying dividends early.

He scored twice, including the game-winner at 5:28 of the third period, to lead the Minnesota Wild past the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 Tuesday in the preseason opener for both teams.

"Hopefully it can stay like this and I can be healthy all year," said Gaborik, who missed 11 games last year with a strained hip flexor and three games with a groin injury, but still scored 38 goals.

Energized in the offseason with the signing of a three-year, $19 million contract and by the acquisition of fellow Slovak, and good friend, Pavol Demitra, Gaborik scored just 32 seconds into the game when his slap shot from atop the left circle went between the pads of Joey MacDonald.

Since being drafted third overall in 2000, Gaborik has 134 goals in 360 games.

In training camp less than a week, coach Jacques Lemaire has noticed a more mature Gaborik on the ice, on the bench and in the locker room. "He was very serious the last few years and this year it seems like he's got a nice smile, which I like, and he's showing that he wants to play and wants to succeed," Lemaire said.

Demitra scored at 1:35 on the power play, tucking home a rebound of Kurtis Foster's shot to give the Wild a 2-0 lead. Brian Rolston also had an assist on the play.

"This is one of the best power plays I've ever played on. For the first game we moved the puck very well and got a lot of chances. If we got lucky, we could have scored three, four goals tonight," said Demitra, acquired from Los Angeles in the offseason.

Johan Franzen scored late in the first period for Detroit, and Boyd Devereaux added a goal on a rebound during a two-man advantage midway through the second period to tie it 2-2.

Detroit finished 1-for-9 on the power play; Minnesota 2-for-11.

With a two-man advantage in the third period, Gaborik tried to center the puck from the bottom of the right circle, but the puck deflected off a defender's skate past goaltender Stefan Liv for the game-winner.

Gaborik, who had a team-high seven shots on goal, also saw considerable time on the penalty kill.

"I was playing there at the end of the season, and it feels much better when you're on the ice more often and also trying to get better defensively, and also maybe, when there is a chance, get something going," he said.

Manny Fernandez went the distance for Minnesota, making 23 saves.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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