The Minnesota Wild can’t keep getting away with this.
When the game appears to be out of reach, just nothing to hold on to and feasibly get rewarded for their collective performance, the group of 20 Wild skaters on the ice and whoever is in net for them that given day, appear to just conjure up goals out of seemingly nowhere to put them in this now familiar position.
It’s almost become a distinct trait with this team, and it will continue to exist until it doesn’t: The Minnesota Wild can come back no matter how many goals they need to score.
On Sunday against the Tampa Bay Lightning—the second game of the Floridian back-to-back—they did exactly that and in an almost inconceivable and completely new way.
ondrej palat hits the post on the empty net and joel eriksson ek ties it at the other end pic.twitter.com/jYWC8swVLk— Hockey Wilderness (@hockeywildernes) November 22, 2021
With the Kaapo Kahkonen on the bench for the extra skater and just 90 seconds remaining, Lightning forward Ondrej Palat sent a whistling puck, hopeful towards the gaping hole of a net that could clinch the regulation win for the reigning champions. But it struck the post. One of the most dramatic things in the sport of hockey happened. An empty-net post; the sound ringing in the ears of every single Wild fan that held some hope in their hearts.
Those that were hopeful were rewarded later.
The clutch blood runs deep on this team and it was Joel Eriksson Ek’s turn to get in on the emotional action of forcing overtime in a game where they were down by two goals just 10 minutes earlier. The goal was in perfect Wild fashion too. If the broadcast cannot determine where the puck is and it just slides past the goal line without any true sense of a “shot” from a player, then it is a goal from the Minnesota Wild in the last couple minutes of a game.
After scratching and clawing their way to overtime, the ended up earning their first shootout loss of the season, so it didn’t become one of those temporary legendary games for the Wild, but just an intense effort that keeps a high spot in the standings.
How they got in that situation was great too! Kevin Fiala got out of Dean Evason’s doghouse (somewhat) by scoring the Wild’s third goal of the game and their first of two at 6-on-5 with Kahkonen pulled.
kevin fiala's deep one timer takes a bounce off the lightning defender's stick and finds the net 6v5 pic.twitter.com/9CJpbP3IoS— Hockey Wilderness (@hockeywildernes) November 22, 2021
Might not be the prettiest tally for his third of the season, but it’s still a point that he earned (and he earned an assist on Joel’s goal as well!).
If we learned anything about this team, it is to never turn the game off no matter how many goals the Wild are losing by. They’re going to do something crazy.