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Wild Steal One From Stars With a 5-4 OT Win

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The fanbase was extremely Jeckyll and Hyde-like tonight.

The Wild were very much like that too.

Minnesota has now beaten the Dallas Stars three times in a row this season and twice at American Airlines Center, where they've historically struggled. With goals from Nino Niederreiter, Jason Zucker, Mikael Granlund, Thomas Vanek, and Marco Scandella, the Wild were able to jump out to a 3-0 lead , fall behind 4-3, tie it, and then win in overtime.

The Wild had a lot of jump in the first period with the first 1:48 of the game buzzing around the Stars zone. Niederreiter had a breakaway chance that was inches from finding the back of the net that looked almost identical to the sick backhand goal he scored against the Florida Panthers. He then was found out in front all alone after Vanek forced a turnover deep in the Stars' zone and for the game's first goal. That would be Nino's team-leading 11th goal of the season.

In second place on the team is Jason Zucker. Zucker scored his 9th goal of the season, more than doubling his career high, after receiving a big rebound from Elk River's finest, Nate Prosser. Zucker really had one rule on his goal and that was to not miss the net. That's how juicy of a rebound it was.

The Wild must have felt pretty damn good about their play in the first period because they really too the foot off the gas in the second period. Minnesota was out-shot 16-8 in the period, but that only tells part of the story. After the Wild preyed on a Stars turnover at the Wild blue line, Zach Parise sent a beautiful stretch pass to Jason Pominville, who then got the puck to Granlund for his third of the season and third against the Stars. Yes, Mikael Granlund has only scored against Dallas thus far.

That's when things really took a turn. For most of the game, Minnesota had given up a few odd-man rushes, but it got really bad for 3:31 seconds, 10 seconds fewer than Stu Bickel saw of ice-time, in the 2nd period when the Wild defense unraveled. Ales Hemsky scored after leaving Ryan Suter's jock on the top shelf. He made a really nice move and got the puck past Kuemper, who was having a decent game to this point. Then, as the Stars finally seized the momentum after the Hemsky goal, Tyler Seguin ripped a shot from deep in the slot that Kuemper actually made a terrific initial glove save but deflected off a back-checking Jared Spurgeon for the Stars' second goal.

Erik Cole got the game-tying goal as he streaked down the left side and sent a hard wrister that beat Kuemper over the blocker. That was when pitchfork nation was out for Kuemper. Darcy really didn't have a bad game. In fact, I'd put more of the blame on the team in front of him for letting up after the first period. It was absolutely the right decision to keep Darcy in net to start the 3rd period.

He answered the bell for the most part. He made some absolutely fantastic saves, one in which he was diving back to his left to make a sprawling glove save. Alex Goligoski got his first of the year immediately after he thwarted a Niederreiter breakaway. The Wild were out-numbered and Goligoski was the only one unchecked.

Minnesota had to find the switch and fast. Thomas Vanek would score with the net empty at the other end from the right circle. Vanek was able to find the soft spot between Stars defenders and the he was able to corral the puck and get a quick shot that beat Kari Lehtonen over the glove.

That goal pushed the Wild and Stars into overtime.

Antoine Roussel had a golden opportunity to end the game, but the Wild defenders were able to clear the puck. Vanek then sent a diagonal pass from the just inside the Stars' blue line to Zach Parise who then touch-passed it to Marco Scandella who crashed the net and stopped at the goalmouth and tipped it past Lehtonen for the winner. That was Scandella's second overtime game winner of the year.

The Wild very much stole this game because for large parts of the game, the Stars dominated them in all categories. They out-shot Minnesota 45-34, and were ahead 40-20 at one point just before the Wild pulled Kuemper in favor of the extra-attacker.

Mike Yeo characterized the game as a "roller coaster ride" in his post-game presser. At the same time, it was some of his own coaching decisions that hamstrung his own team, namely dressing Stu Bickel to only play 3:41 on the ice. Not to mention Nino Niederreiter, the team's leading goal scorer, getting moved to the third line when Charlie Coyle has yet to put any meaningful points on the board. The Wild fanbase is getting restless and are unsatisfied even after a win.

The Blues come to town Saturday as the top team in the division tied with the Nashville Predators. The Wild need to have a better showing than they had Friday night and Wednesday night.