Connect with us


“New guys” spark Wild over New Jersey

Bergenheim, Stewart ignite the fire as Minnesota roasts the Devils

Minnesota’s Chris Stewart celebrates his second-period goal in the Wild’s 6-2 win over New Jersey on Tuesday night at Xcel Energy Center. (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)

Bergenheim, Stewart ignite the fire as Minnesota roasts the Devils

St. Paul — Goals by newcomers Sean Bergenheim and Chris Stewart 1:19 apart spanning the first and second periods sparked the Wild to a 6-2 win over the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night before 19,034 at Xcel Energy Center.

The floodgates opened from there with Minnesota scoring twice more in the second and a pair in the third, including two goals from Thomas Vanek (No. 15 and 16 of the year) for his 50th career multi-goal game.

Zach Parise had a pair of assists and Devan Dubnyk was Devan Dubnyk in his 200th NHL game, finishing with 30 saves to raise his record to 28-9-3 overall and 19-4-1 with Minnesota this season.

Dubnyk’s play was especially critical late in the first period when the Devils made a push. But Dubnyk stood tall against a trio of odd-man rushes to keep New Jersey off the board.

“We were really good the first half [of the period] and then they started to take things over,” Minnesota coach Mike Yeo said. “He gave us a chance to settle things down a little bit and grab that lead and that was huge.”

Bergenheim, who was acquired via trade from the Florida Panthers last month, had a solid debut for the Wild against Nashville on Feb. 26 but has struggled as of late. After seeing time on Minnesota’s second and third lines, Bergenheim was dropped to the fourth line alongside Erik Haula and Kyle Brodziak.

“You can look at it as a punishment if you want, but it wasn’t,” Yeo said. “We felt like we were surrounding him with a couple players that would help him play the type of game that he needs to play and he responded really well.

“They were dangerous all night.”

Bergenheim agreed, saying his line could have had a few more goals than his lone tally.

“I think we had good pace and they had some moments where they kind of had a few good chances but, all in all, I think we had a pretty good pace all the way through,” Bergenheim said.

Bergenheim broke the scoreless tie late in the first period scoring his ninth goal of the season, but first in a Wild sweater, with 1:03 remaining on a feed from Kyle Brodziak.

“You always want to see the new guys get that first goal out of the way,” Wild forward Zach Parise said. “It was a great shot. It’s good to see him and Stewart contributing, you want them to feel good about the way they’re playing because they’re helping us out a lot.”

“[The goal] took a little longer than I wanted but the most important thing is, every day, to keep on getting better because we want to be good in the playoffs,” Bergenheim said. “I want to get better and ready for that.”

Stewart made it 2-0 just 13 seconds into the middle frame with his second goal for the Wild and 13th overall.

“To get that one right away, I think that hurt them a lot and then after that we were able to just keep going,” Parise said. “But it was a good start to that second period that was the big difference.”

It was the second goal in two games for Stewart, who added an assist against the Devils to pick up his first multi-point game with the Wild and 62nd of his career. He now has four points (2-2–4) in five games since his March 2 acquisition from the Buffalo Sabres for a 2017 second-round draft pick.

“I think that’s Stewart’s best game that he’s played with us,” Yeo said. “I thought that he was really good and, I’ve said it a number of times, I’ve really liked the way that Mikko [Koivu] and he are reading off each other.”

After what had been a fairly even, although wide-open first period (the teams combined for 29 shots), the relatively quick goals lit a fire under the Wild as they pinned the Devils in their zone for long stretches early in the second.

Just 12 seconds after a roughing penalty to New Jersey’s Eric Gelinas expired, Jared Spurgeon’s blast from the right circle beat Devils’ goaltender Cory Schneider for his eighth of the year and a 3-0 Wild lead at 4:23.

In just his second game back from injured reserve, Spurgeon not only scored but assisted on Jason Pominville’s third-period tally and finished plus-3 on the night.

New Jersey’s Dainius Zubrus cut the lead to two midway through the period but less than three minutes later, Vanek pounced on a loose puck near the crease to restore the three-goal cushion at the break.

Pominville’s goal 1:18 into the third sent Schneider to the bench in favor of Keith Kinkaid who allowed Vanek’s second goal when he got a stick on a puck Parise had pushed into the crease and appeared to be on its way in.

Asked if Vanek owes him a goal Parise quipped, “Yeah, I thought so. I celebrated like it was mine and then they announced it was his. I kind of feel like an idiot now.”

Minnesota Hockey Magazine Executive Editor Brian Halverson is a former member of the Minnesota Chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association. His work has been published in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Miami Herald, St. Paul Pioneer Press, Hartford Courant, Dallas Morning News and

Click to comment

2024 State Tourney Guide Issue

Click on the cover to view!

2024 Hockey Day MN Recap Issue

Click on the cover to view!

Sign Up Here to Receive Our Free E-edition!


More in NHL

  • Eye On The Future

    Marc-Andre Fleury's return puts future Hall of Fame goalie in position to develop Jesper...

  • Wallstedt Gets A Boost

    Three months after a rough NHL debut, Wallstedt gets a second chance with the...

  • Sweet For Shaw

    Wild forward Mason Shaw scored his first goal in more than a year.

  • Wild Questions

    Zulgad: The Minnesota Wild will enter the offseason with many questions.

  • Wild Trades

    Wild GM eliminated his chance to make impact moves at deadline.

  • Back In The Mix

    Wild's playoff run ultimately might be counterproductive.