Gaborik posts NHL's first five-goal game in decade

Mike Weimerskirch, PA SportsTicker  Published: Thursday, December 20, 2007

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Minnesota Wild right wing Marian Gaborik, right, scores a goal against New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist during the second period of Thursday's game in St. Paul, Minn.Eric Miller/ReutersMinnesota Wild right wing Marian Gaborik, right, scores a goal against New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist during the second period of Thursday's game in St. Paul, Minn.

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Marian Gaborik keeps putting the puck in the net, and the Minnesota Wild keep winning.

Gaborik became the first player in nearly 11 years to score five goals in a game as the Wild routed the New York Rangers, 6-3, on Thursday.

The talented right wing became the first NHL player since Detroit's Sergei Fedorov on December 26, 1996, to score five goals in a single game, setting a new single-game franchise record in the process.

"My buddy sent me a YouTube video today of [Pavel] Bure in the [1998 Winter] Olympics when he scored five goals against Finland," Gaborik said. "[Pavol Demitra] was joking [before the game] that I have to get five goals tonight."

Gaborik netted the natural hat trick in a span of just over 12 minutes in between the first and second periods after the Rangers' Michal Rozsival opened the scoring at 10:51 of the opening session.

"It was pretty amazing," said Minnesota's Mark Parrish, who assisted on Gaborik's second goal. "He was banking them in out of the air, scoring on breakaways, skating through everybody; he was going every which way tonight."

Gaborik had a hand in all six tallies for Minnesota, which has won four straight.

"Every time he had the puck around the net, it was in," Wild coach Jacques Lemaire said.

After Rozsival staked New York to an early 1-0 lead, Gaborik evened the game less than three minutes later, receiving a feed in the slot from Demitra after Aaron Voros poke-checked Jaromir Jagr in the Rangers' zone.

"I've only been here for 25 games," Voros said. "It's pretty special being on the same line with him."

In the second period, Gaborik took advantage of two New York penalties for a pair of power-play goals.

With Brandon Dubinsky penalized for delay-of-game, Gaborik lifted a shot past Rangers netminder Henrik Lundqvist from close range at 3:47 of the second period.

Gaborik completed the hat trick - the ninth of his career - at 5:38 of the second, poking in a rebound of his own shot.

"When the first one and the second one go in, it gets you going," Gaborik said.

After Martin Straka scored the fourth power-play goal of the game less than a minute later, Gaborik assisted on Pierre-Marc Bouchard's power-play tally midway through the second period.

"On the power play, we were moving the puck [and] moving with the puck," Gaborik said. "We're skating and that's what's going well for us."

Gaborik continued the onslaught in the final period after Nigel Dawes narrowed the lead to 4-3. The Wild superstar added a wrist shot at 7:56 and an unassisted tally on a breakaway at 9:31 to account for the final margin.

"He's so dynamic," Parrish said. "It's amazing how quickly he can turn nothing into a goal for us."

After the game, the 25-year-old right wing was carried off the ice by teammates Sean Hill and Keith Carney.

"We ran into a world-class hockey player who was having the game of his life," New York's Brendan Shanahan said.

Gaborik tied his career high with six points. It was his best offensive game since he scored three goals and helped set up another on April 9, 2006, at Colorado.

Josh Harding made 32 saves to record his fourth straight win, raising his record to 7-6-1 for the season.

The Rangers outshot the Wild, 35-22, marking the fifth time in the last six games that New York has recorded at least nine more shots than its opponent.

"[When it was] 5-on-5, I think we really outplayed them," Shanahan said.

Lundqvist surrendered all six of the Wild's goals, making just 12 saves before being relieved by Stephen Valiquette, who stopped four shots.

"I'm disappointed with myself for not playing better," Lundqvist said. "At the same time, [Gaborik] scored some nice goals."

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