MINNESOTA SPORTS ROUNDUP: Both Wolves, Wild lose on the road
NEWARK, NJ (SportsNetwork.com) - Andy Greene's goal two minutes into overtime lifted the New Jersey Devils to a much-needed 4-3 victory over the Minnesota Wild, spoiling Zach Parise's return to the Prudential Center in the process.
Patrik Elias and Adam Henrique assisted on Greene's game-winner -- the third helper of the night for both -- while Jaromir Jagr, Michael Ryder and Mark Fayne all scored to support a 20-save effort from Devils goaltender Cory Schneider.
New Jersey, which currently sits five points back of a playoff spot, halted a three-game skid with the verdict.
Parise, who captained the Devils to the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals and spent his first seven NHL seasons with New Jersey, potted one of three Minnesota goals in the third period as the Wild overcame a 2-0 deficit to notch a point.
"It was fun to be back, but unfortunately the outcome wasn't what we were planning on," Parise said. "We were able to claw back into the game and get a point. That could be a big one later in the year.
"In a way, I'm kind of glad it's over."
Matt Cooke and Mikael Granlund also tallied for Minnesota, which received 25 saves out of Ilya Bryzgalov.
The Devils bounced back strongly in overtime after blowing a two-goal lead with under 9 1/2 minutes in regulation. Shortly after Schneider turned away Mikko Koivu, Elias led a rush up the ice before slipping a backhand pass across the crease that Greene successfully slammed into an open left side.
"I was just looking to support the rush and actually kicked it out of the corner to start it," Greene said. "I thought about changing but saw we had a 3-on-2 developing and supported it. The puck squirted through there, back door, and luckily I got some rubber on it and put it home."
Jagr's 704th career goal, a one-timer of a Ryan Clowe feed into the left slot on a power play 3:34 into the third period, staked the Devils to a 3-1 advantage. Schneider gave up a soft score with 9:24 left, however, mishandling a puck thrown on net by Granlund from the left boards.
"He whipped it through a few pairs of legs and I didn't see it coming," Schneider said. "It's just what has been happening lately for me. I need to be tighter on that one."
A penalty to Travis Zajac shortly afterward enabled the Wild to pull back even. The resulting power play ended with Cooke successfully redirecting Marco Scandella's blast from the right point past Schneider to forge a 3-3 tie with 4:32 left in regulation.
Ryder's slap shot through Bryzgalov's pads with 3:02 left in the first period and Fayne's shorthanded marker midway through the second -- a wrister in transition that beat Bryzgalov to the stick side -- had the Devils entering the second intermission carrying a 2-0 lead.
Parise struck quickly against his former mates in the third, however, registering his 24th of the year on a power-play tip-in of Ryan Suter's initial attempt with just 21 seconds elapsed in the frame.
HOUSTON, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - James Harden had 28 points, eight assists and five rebounds to lead the Houston Rockets to a 129-106 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Donatas Motiejunas scored a career-high 20 points and Chandler Parsons added 19 points, nine rebounds and five assists for Houston, which has won two in a row without Dwight Howard in the lineup. Patrick Beverley scored 14 points and Jeremy Lin added 11 points and 10 assists.
"I think we moved the ball really well," said Lin. "It was moving all night and guys were hitting shots, layups, threes."
Howard had played every game this season until a left ankle strain sidelined him Monday against Utah.
Kevin Love totaled a game-high 29 points to go along with six boards and five assists for the Timberwolves, while Gorgui Dieng set career highs with 22 points and 21 rebounds
"Some of us just didn't have it and that's the way it goes sometimes," said Love. "These are the dog days of the season right here, trying to give everything you got. Sometimes that's just not good enough."
Dieng was the first Minnesota player to record a 20-point, 20-rebound game this season.
Houston trailed by 10 with 9:50 left in the second quarter before Harden knocked down consecutive treys to spark a 20-3 tear which put the Rockets ahead 51-44 halfway through the quarter.
Harden hit another trey with 1:17 left in the first half to put the Rockets up by a 64-54 score at the break. He led the way for Houston with 17 points in the quarter, while going 5-for-7 from the floor.
The Rockets began the third quarter with a 16-7 run to stretch the margin to 19 points with 8 1/2 minutes on the clock, and did not look back from there. Minnesota trailed by as many as 21 in the period and only came within 13 points over the rest of the third, trailing 98-82 heading into the final frame.
Houston led by as many as 29 points in the fourth as they cruised to the finish.
Earlier, the first quarter featured eight lead changes and two ties as Minnesota went ahead 33-27 heading into the second.
Love went 5-for-7 from the floor for 14 points during the opening period. Beverley countered with 11 points for the Rockets, going 3-for-4 from beyond the arc.