What a bizarre game. Against a team many overlooked despite the Hurricanes being 2nd in the league in Shot-Attempts-For%, the Wild didn't have the best start of all time. They would eventually come back, however, and earn their first OT win of the season, with Dubnyk earning his NHL-leading 10th win of the season.
The first period did not begin how the Wild were hoping; the Wild were slow and couldn't connect passes. Christian Folin took a hooking penalty at 4:21 in the first period, and it wouldn't take Carolina long to make them pay. Justin Faulk took a pass right off the face-off, and fired a howitzer home past Dubnyk. The camera angles make it tough to tell if Dubnyk was screened or not, but it was a great shot by Faulk to take the lead.
Things went from bad to worse, as the Wild continued to be completely incapable of exiting their zone with control, or entering Carolina's zone period. Hurricane Jay McClement came in hard to the net, but his shot was stopped. McClement's momentum, assisted by a Mat Dumba shove, fell into Dubnyk, and Andrej Nestrasil fired the rebound home. Initially the goal was waived off for goalie interference, but the call was overturned after Carolina challenged.
Wild fans will be upset, but that's a call that turns on a coin flip. Yes, Dubnyk was interfered with, but Dumba pushed McClement into him. It's a class chicken-egg question that is a lottery for both teams.
The Wild would continue to be hapless in the first, on their way to being outshot 19-5, but would find a glimmer of hope when Jason Zucker fired a wrist shot home from the left circle with just over 4 minutes to go in the period, and the Wild would carry the 2-1 deficit into the break.
The second period was by far the best for the Minnesotans, as they outshot Carolina 8-3 and tied the game. While the Wild were buzzing all period, the goal in particular featured some nice play from whipping boys Mikael Granlund and Jason Pominville.
Granlund fought his way deep into Hurricane territory and tapped a pass to Pominville. Pominville half-passed, half-shot the puck to Vanek in the high slot, and the Austrian sniper made no mistake en route to the game tying goal. The Wild had a few other big chances, but the Wild failed to get most of their big chances on net. Regardless, after taking the first period off, the Wild were fortunate to be tied heading into the third period.
The third period was very even, very back and forth. Both teams had a number of chances, including somewhere between a gajillion and a jillion-billion for Jeff Skinner, who had 7 shots on the night but no goals. Jason Pominville hit at least one post, and blasted another shot wide of an open net after a cross from Granlund.
Dubnyk needed to stand on his head at the end of the period, and the two teams went to OT.
The Wild started OT like the started the game: sloppy. After Skinner earned (another) scoring chance for himself, Ryan Suter would be caught hooking the Hurricane to put the Wild on a 4-on-3 sudden-death penalty kill. Not exactly an ideal situation. After Dubnyk practiced some more head-stands and the Wild made a few miraculous clearances, all appeared to be lost. A Wild clearance struck a linesman and the referee held the zone. Somehow, the puck stayed out the net and the penalty was killed with just under 2 minutes left.
The Wild won possession and flew down the ice, led by Jason Zucker. After the forward's shot was saved, goalie Cam Ward tried to grab his stick, but failed. Though the penalty wasn't called, a Suter shot rebounded to the speedster, who put the puck in the net for a 3-2 overtime win for the good guys.
The game was anything but pretty, and the Wild will consider themselves fortunate to have earned both points. They will need to play considerably better through the rest of the road trip if they want to pick up more points. The Wild are next in action on Saturday in Dallas, where they will play the Dallas
In closing, and in honor of Mr. Cam Ward's attempt to steal Jason Zucker's stick, I remind you of the time that Mikko Koivu did the same thing.