It wasn't a win.
And it wasn't pretty.
In Zach Parise's return to New Jersey, where he was drafted and came of age, the Wild fell flat for the first two periods in the Prudential Center. The first period saw the Wild go on the power-play 4 minutes into the game, but the Wild showed off their power-play prowress, and missed the opportunity to score the first goal. The Wild ended up the first goal of the game when Michael Ryder took a pass from Patrik Elias and scored from the middle of the ice. The Wild then took a major when Nate Prosser took an elbowing penalty. Maybe the Wild's penalty kill was just going to click that night, or maybe it was because that five-minute major was served by Dany Heatley, but the Wild managed to kill it off.
After that penalty kill, though, things did not go well for the Wild in the second. The Wild had the man advantage twice, and not only did they not score, they gave up their 6th shorthanded goal of the season when Nino Niederreiter turned over the puck. The Wild ended the second period down 2-0, with a 18-12 disadvantage in shots.
The Minnesota Wild finally pounced on the man advantage when Zach Parise scored his 24th goal of the season just 21 seconds into the third period. While the score put them within one, giving the Wild hope of being able to overcome their slow start, the Devils struck back three minutes later with a power play goal of their own, this one by the ageless Jaromir Jagr. The game appeared to be out of reach at that point.
But then the newly-dubbed PPG line responded when Mikael Granlund shot and scored on a bad angle with a shade under 10 minutes remaining in the game. Almost immediately after, Matt Moulson drew a power play for the Wild, which they were unable to convert on. Shortly after the first power play's expiration, Justin Fontaine took a high-stick from Danius Zubrus, the Wild finally scored with the man advantage to tie the game. With just two seconds left in the power play, Marco Scandella took a shot that Matt Cooke tipped past Corey Schneider, and the Devils' league-best penalty kill failed for the second time that game.
In overtime, the Devils struck when Patrik Elias took the puck all the way from his own zone to the offensive zone, passing it to Adam Henrique, who took a shot that rebounded onto the stick of Andy Greene, who put it past Bryzgalov to give the Wild their 6th loss in the last 8 games.
The Wild were quite lucky to scrape by with a point tonight, but still found themselves in a position where it's incredibly disappointing that they couldn't come out of the game with another point.
Ilya Bryzgalov didn't look terrible, but he wasn't able to pull off the same performance that saw him earn tonight's start. Expect Kuemper to take the ice for the Wild's next start, and he should be grateful for the rest. You can also be grateful that Mike Yeo didn't split up the Parise-Granlund-Pominville line, as it's still hot, and was the only line that really was productive tonight.
Going back to the "Wild got lucky" theme of the night, Dallas lost their game against Philadelphia, which means that the Wild actually improved their playoff positioning tonight, despite the loss, as they increased their lead in the Wild Card race to 8 points.
The Wild get a day to rest, but will return to action on Saturday at 1:00 PM, when they will host the Detroit Red Wings. We will be here with the coverage.