So, on his incredible overtime goal, Mikael Granlund beat last year’s Selke and Norris Trophy winners, the NHL’s current second-leading goal scorer and a Vezina Trophy finalist/former Conn Smythe/Jennings winner. Or, four players -- Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty, Jeff Carter and Jonathan Quick -- making a collective $35.45 million.
Tonight, in a 5-4 overtime win over Los Angeles, Granlund scored the fastest overtime goal in Wild history (12 seconds). It was Granlund’s 20th goal and his first career regular-season overtime winner.
It was a gritty win by the Wild, which returning from its bye week was without Zach Parise and Jason Pominville, who have the mumps, were using Tyler Graovac playing his third game in three days (fourth in four Tuesday in Winnipeg) and was integrating Martin Hanzal and Ryan White into the lineup for the first time despite almost no systems tutorial and arriving at the rink less than two hours before gametime.
For the third time in Wild history, the Wild rallied from four one-goal deficits to win.
Nino Niederreiter scored the first tying goal, his 20th goal for a third straight 20-goal season. Jordan Schroeder, likely scratched Monday if the team’s healthy, had the second tying goal and had an assist for his fifth career multi-point game. White had the third tying goal and also had an assist for his sixth career multi-point game. And, Jason Zucker had the fourth tying goal, his 19th.
The win was the Wild’s 40th and gave Minnesota 86 points – one short of last year’s 82-game total in 60 games. The Wild’s now 15-3-2 in games following a loss, including nine straight wins.
“If you think fast, it was great,” Granlund said. “A lot of goals and I think there was a lot of emotion in the game, too. It was a great game to play as a player and I’m glad we got the win.”
Boudreau said his lineup was a mess today between Parise and Pominville’s illnesses, Dalpe being plucked off waivers, Graovac getting word so late to come up from Iowa and Hanzal and White’s late arrival.
“I did [the lineup] completely three different times, and then the fourth I just scratched out and put names in. Because it was getting too late. I usually get here really early, and then it still didn’t seem like I had enough time to get it all done because it seemed like every 15 minutes something new was happening.”
On why the heck he put White with Niederreiter and Staal, Boudreau said, “Poof,” then impersonated me at a craps table (ok, maybe any craps player).
“Poof. Rolled the dice!” Boudreau said. “I didn’t know. There was some thought that I wanted to get balance, but I haven’t seen Ryan White play a full game ever, so.”
On White, Boudreau said, “He makes things happen. I watched him last week, and he made a really great play on a goal, so he showed that he can play. I thought he was fine. He was looking around. He listened to directions really well. The first goal, I initially thought it was his fault, but it turned out it was another forward’s fault. It’s a first game, they get here, they roll in about quarter after five after traveling all day, making sure that they went and got their physicals, and they must’ve been exhausted. So they must’ve just been running on pure adrenaline.”
On Hanzal and White arriving so late because they also had to first get their physicals in Bloomington, Boudreau said, “What I would’ve liked was if it was a normal time, I would’ve liked to be able to go over the systems a little bit. We didn’t have time. We did it in about three minutes.”
On the latest mumps outbreak, which Boudreau dealt with in Anaheim in 2014 when the Wild got it, too, “I was pretty shocked when initially Scott [Stevens] got it. When he phoned the other day and said he had mumps, I said, oh my goodness. At practice yesterday, it didn’t seem anything was there, and then this morning, [head medical trainer] John Worley came up to me and said we got two guys at the doctors because of this. What can you do? You just sit there and go, here we go. Sometimes you have to just grit it out and let emotion take over and I think that’s what we did for the most part tonight.”
On Graovac, Boudreau said, “Grao, they played in Chicago yesterday afternoon and bussed home and then he had to get the news at noon and come here and play his third game in three nights. And I thought he was really, I thought the fourth line was really good. So it was a good job by him.”
Will he play four in four Tuesday in Winnipeg? “I don’t think he has a choice. I just asked him. And I said please don’t take the morning skate. But he’s going to play [Tuesday].”
On Granlund’s winner, Boudreau said, “It was Granny. I know the rest of the league knows about him, but it’s unfortunate that he doesn’t get the attention that maybe somebody from New York or Toronto would get because he does that very often. Every time he touches the puck I think he has the ability to make a play or put it in the net.”
On Hanzal, Boudreau said, “You know what, again, these guys were so, I just give them credit for being here. But positioning wise, blocking shots, doing the things we wanted him to do, being really strong down low, all of those things were right up with what came as advertised.”
White, wearing the St. Paul Police Hero of the Game hat, said, “It was a long day for sure. It was nice doing it with Marty. My first time getting traded so I didn't really know what to expect. Definitely a whirlwind 24 hours. Not much sleep. I'll try and get some tonight and get ready for tomorrow.”
On jumping into the game, he said, “They just kind of gave us the base of what was going to happen out there and just told us to go out there and play hockey. I think that's the way to go about it on the day like this. That's what I was telling myself all day that it's just hockey. So just go out there and play. I got lucky. I had a couple good linemates out there tonight that made things easy on me. I was just trying to do the right things and got rewarded.”
On being on the Staal line, White said, “I had to take a double check for sure. I haven't seen that too many times in my career. I was definitely excited. It gave me a little kick in the [butt] to get myself going. It was special playing with those two guys tonight. It was nice to get rewarded with them.”
On the ovation after his goal, White said, “It was fun. Definitely not used to that right now. It's a little bit different down in AZ. That was a fun hockey game. It was fun to be a part of.”
On being in the playoff hunt, he said. “It's an easy team to jump into. A veteran group in here. I just came in and went about my business today and the guys have been helping me out all day since I've been here. They were ready to go tonight so I just tried to jump on the bandwagon.
Hanzal said, “It was a long day. We had a lot of travel today and got medicals before the game, too. So I got here right on time, around 5:00. But it was a good experience. We got a win and that’s all that matters.”
On White stepping up, Hanzal said, “He works hard. He’s a player who never gives up and he played really hard today, and he got a couple points. So I’m happy for him. He’s a great teammate to have on this team.”
On the upcoming playoff race, “I’m really excited. I said it before I got here, I’m looking forward to [being] on the winning team and this is one of the best teams in the West. I’m very glad I can be part of it and hopefully we’re gonna have a good run.”
On if the crowd was a little different than Arizona, which I immediately felt guilty asking, Hanzal said, “Yeah, it was a little different than the crowd in Arizona, a little more people. But it was awesome. The crowd was great. I was really happy I could be in a game today cause I just got the call last night, so I’m glad I could make it. I’m just really happy to be here and hopefully we’re gonna have a good run.”
He said he picked No. 19 because his daughter was born on the 19th, but he’ll tell pal and Coyotes captain Shane Doan it was a nod to him.
On the deal, he said, “It was new. I've never been traded before so it was something new. I knew I had to flip the page and start a new chapter. That's what I was thinking in my head. Just forget whatever it was yesterday or two weeks ago. This is my team right now and I'm going to fight for my team. I'm just trying to focus on this team right now.”
Schroeder said on the win: “Obviously we showed a lot of resiliency coming from behind all game. They’re playing for their playoff [spot] right now, so we knew they were gonna have some desperation, and we matched it. Obviously [Granlund] had the nice OT winner.”
Schroeder on coming up big again: “I can play in this League and I think I’ve proven that here. I just gotta keep doing that night in and night out when I get in.”
Staal on the new guys: “It was a lot of different things happening, I’m sure Bruce changed his lineup a bunch of times today with everything that went on. I was excited to get out there with him, he was pumped, had a lot of energy. For just joining us I thought he played a strong game and stuck to his game which is getting to the net and being strong on the forecheck. It was fun and he’s going to be a good addition to this group.”
On White’s goal that he assisted on, Staal said, “It was big at the time, I mean anytime we can continue to crawl back like we did, it’s huge. We want to get that one back. Anytime you join a new group if you can get that first goal early, it’s a good feeling, gets you integrated real quick and both of those guys [White and Hanzal) were important and are going to help us so it was fun to play with today.”
On the mumps, Staal said, “Hopefully we get through these next couple of days and no one else comes down with any symptoms but if you’re going to be passing [it] around, the celebration after Granny’s goal is definitely a lot of gloves in face and excitement so if someone had it in that pile then we all got it so we’ll see it what happens, but it was a big goal.”
That’s it for me. It is beyond late and I have a very early flight to Winnipeg and haven’t packed. Talk to you Tuesday. I’ll be on Fox Sports North before the game and during the first intermission.