Found March 11, 2012 on Fox Sports North:
New_york_rangers_c931
ST. PAUL, Minn. When forward Erik Christensen was acquired by the Minnesota Wild at the start of February, he saw the opportunity as a new lease on his hockey life. Christensen had been scratched his last 18 games with the New York Rangers and was coming to a team desperate for scoring help with injuries to forwards Mikko Koivu, Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Guillaume Latendresse. But his trying season continued in Minnesota. He had scored two shootout goals, displaying the shot and quick hands he had become known for, but he had gone 15 games in a Wild sweater without registering a point during regulation or overtime. Christensen finally hit the back of the net in a 5-on-5 situation Sunday, scoring two goals in Minnesota's 4-3 loss to the Calgary Flames. It was a feeling he had missed. His last goal came as a member of the Rangers on Nov. 5. Sunday was his eighth career two-goal game. "I missed scoring," Christensen said. "It's been like 14 or 15 games here with Minnesota, but it goes along a lot longer than that. But it still doesn't take away the feeling the way the game ended up." The Wild's Devin Setoguchi scored his 18th goal of the season, but Minnesota (29-30-10) lost for the sixth time in seven games. Goaltender Matt Hackett made 25 saves. "It's a little bit maddening to be honest with you," coach Mike Yeo said of the loss. "We owe our fans a good game here. It's too many games in a row where we come out flat in our own building. I thought we had a lot of guys going, had a lot of guys going. And I'm not looking for any sympathy votes for that, it's not enough." Christensen single-handedly erased a two-goal deficit early in the third period. After Calgary took a 2-0 lead 1:43 into the period, Christensen created a turnover and scored unassisted 27 seconds later. He struck again just over two minutes later. "I know it's been talked about that we all felt that if he could get one, he would hopefully break loose after that," coach Mike Yeo said. "And it didn't take him too long to get another one after he got the first one. So, let's hope that's something to build off of." Yeo and general manager Chuck Fletcher had seen Christensen's ability when he scored 12 goals in 16 games for Wilkes-Barre of the American Hockey League in 2006-07 when all three were with the Pittsburgh Penguins minor-league team. He's also one of the most prolific shootout scorers in NHL history. His 12 shootout-deciding goals are third all-time and his 27 total shootout goals are sixth. He's scored on 54 percent of his 50 tries in the shootout, which is third all-time among players with at least 32 attempts. He displayed his slick hands with a shootout goal for Minnesota against Winnipeg on Feb. 16 and then added a shootout-deciding goal on Feb. 23 against Florida. But he wants to be known as more than just a shootout specialist. Going scoreless in his first 15 games with the Wild and playing at a minus-13 didn't help the perception. His fresh start had gone sour and he was scratched for back-to-back games two weeks ago. Sunday's two goals and team-high five shots -- the most he's had in an NHL game since Oct. 24, 2010 -- could be the boost he's needed. "It's difficult; I haven't played much hockey," Christensen said. "I mean, I was scratched the majority of the time I was in New York this year and when I did play, I was five, six, maybe seven minutes a game. Hasn't been a lot of hockey for me this year, and it took me a lot longer than I thought it would for me to kind of feel back into a groove. Tonight definitely felt good to score. I missed it a lot actually." Follow Brian Hall on Twitter.
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