The Minnesota Wild blew a three-goal after to two periods before falling to the Dallas Stars in overtime 4-3 Saturday at the Xcel Energy Center. The Wild were the better team for the first period-plus and had a commanding two-goal. Then they extended the lead. From there everything went downhill before completely coming off the rails in the third.
Alex Goligoski tipped a shot by Jordie Benn down and into the net four minutes and 57 seconds into the third period on the Stars’ 34th shot of the game to get on the board. There was a feeling like ‘uh, oh, here we go’ from the Wild’s side.
“There was no doubt we were going to give it our all to come back in this game,” Stars captain Jamie Benn said. “We set a goal to get a goal in the first five (minutes). We executed that and rode the momentum.”
Just under five minutes later, the Wild had an opportunity to regain control of the game, but a shorthanded goal by Jamie Benn added a little more doubt to the Wild.
“Ultimately, I think our power play, instead of getting momentum when were up two goals, lost it for us,” Thomas Vanek said. “It wasn’t to re-establish a three-goal lead, that’s the ultimate goal on the power play, but just to create some momentum back.”
The Stars (19-5-0) eventually tied the game with a shot by John Klingberg through traffic with five minutes and 33 seconds remaining in the game.
The Wild had the first opportunities and controlled most of the overtime session. It took just two shots and two possessions in the offensive zone for the Stars to complete the comeback. Seguin swept a backhand shot into a wide open net from just outside the top of the crease.
“(Jamie Benn) faked a shot went around the net and threw it out front,” Seguin said. “I just tried to get as much on it as I could — obviously, I was on my backhand.”
The Wild (11-7-4) controlled the first period and took advantage of a team that won in Dallas in a shootout and did not arrive until the early hours of the morning. Vanek led the way with a goal and an assist in the first period.
Vanek got the scoring started just under six minutes into the game. He snuck a shot through Jonas Brodin and Justin Fontaine on his second shot attempt over the shoulder of Stars goaltender Antti Niemi. Charlie Coyle started the play with a pass to Brodin to get the puck out of the defensive zone. Brodin slid a pass to Vanek at the blue line and drove the net. Vane’s first shot was blocked by Klingberg. He wasted no time firing the second shot toward the net.
Coyle finished off a 2-on-1 rush to score his sixth goal of the season off a pass from Vanek. After receiving a pass from Fontaine in the neutral zone, Vanek faked a shot at the top of the circles to freeze Niemi. He then slid a pass to Coyle for a quick one-timer into the open net.
Jason Pominville ended his scoring drought one minute and 11 seconds into the second period with a slap shot just under the cross bar from the top of the right circle. Mikael Granlund gathered in a puck mishandled by Seguin at center ice and found Pominville right out of the penalty box to spring him on the rush.
Darcy Kuemper stopped 40 shots in his first start since Oct. 25 and just third appearance of the season. The Wild’s backup goaltender was good with 19 saves in the second and seven early in the third, but could not make the big one late to preserve the win.
No. 3 – Jamie Benn. The Stars forward scored a goal and had an assist.
No. 2 – Thomas Vanek. The Wild forward had a goal and an assist.
No. 1 – Tyler Seguin. The Stars forward recorded a goal and an assist.
Dallas….…..…0 0 3 1 – 4
Minnesota……2 1 0 0 – 3
First Period – 1, Minnesota, Vanek 10 (Brodin, Coyle), 5:52. 2, Minnesota, Coyle 6 (Vanek, Fontaine), 13:27. Penalties – Pominville, MIN (slashing), 19:04.
Second Period – 3, Minnesota, Pominville 1 (Granlund), 1:11. Penalties – Roussel, DAL (unsportsmanlike conduct), 1:17.
Third Period – 4, Dallas, Goligoski 2 (Jo. Benn, Nichushkin), 4:57. 5, Dallas, Ja. Benn 18 (Eakin), 9:43. 6, Dallas, Klingberg 5 (Eakin, Seguin), 14:33. Penalties – Suter, MIN (cross checking), 2:40; Oduya, DAL (cross checking), 8:33.
Overtime – 7, Dallas, Seguin 13 (Ja. Benn, Klingberg), 3:57. Penalties – None.
Shots on goal – Dallas 7-19-16-2 44. Minnesota 9-8-7-2 26.
Goalies – Dallas, Niemi (23-26). Minnesota, Kuemper (40-44). Referees – Tim Peel, Justin St. Pierre. Linesmen – Andy McElman, Mark Wheler.