ANAHEIM, Calif. – The scenario was exactly the same.
After two periods Friday night against the Ducks, the Wild led 2-1, copying the script that played out Tuesday against the Kings. And like it did in that eventual 5-2 loss, the Wild couldn’t protect its advantage.
But instead of crumbling, this time the Wild pushed back — eking out a 3-2 overtime victory over Anaheim in front of an announced crowd of 16,471 at Honda Center during Stop No. 2 of a three-game trek along the West Coast.
“It definitely shows we learn from our mistakes,” defenseman Matt Dumba said.
Dumba sealed the victory 3 minutes, 43 seconds into the extra period by wrapping a puck around goalie John Gibson for his fourth career OT game-winner and second in less than a week, as he clinched the 2-1 triumph over the Blues last Saturday.
The goal also nixed a Ducks comeback that was stoked with 6:25 remaining in the third after center Adam Henrique stuffed a puck in at the back post with goalie Devan Dubnyk looking the other way, tying the score 2-2. It was an unfortunate goal, as the Wild wasn’t as vulnerable as it was en route to surrendering four third-period goals to the Kings.
“It was kind of a weird play with some guys falling over, and it ends up on the other side of the net,” Dubnyk said. “When we play like that in the third period, we’re going to win games. To see everybody just stay with it when they get one and go to overtime and get two points, that’s how we can start building good feelings.”
Wild coach Bruce Boudreau prepped his team for the chance at redemption during the second intermission, reminding the group of the opportunity it had to rebound from Tuesday’s setback. And the Wild capitalized.
“You get to show what you’re really made of and go out there and do it,” Boudreau said. “I thought they did.”
It was the Wild, though, that was in comeback mode early; Ducks winger Kevin Roy’s shot sneaked through Dubnyk’s five hole 9:17 into the game just after an Anaheim power-play chance expired. The Ducks went 0-for-3 with the man advantage, while the Wild was 0-for-2 on its opportunities.
“Just a poor setup by me on the post, and it kind of put me in a difficult position to execute a save,” said Dubnyk, who finished with 26 saves. “That’s an easy fix.”
In the second period, Wild winger Jason Zucker tied it at 1-1 after accepting a Mikael Granlund feed, cutting to the middle and roofing a backhander over Gibson at 14:49, Zucker’s team-leading 14th goal. Of his past 16 games, Zucker has at least a point in 13 of them.
Then, with 3:02 remaining in the period, the fourth line put the Wild ahead when Zack Mitchell buried a loose puck in front. Although it was a reworked group, with Mitchell, Daniel Winnik and Marcus Foligno filling out the unit while Matt Cullen was a healthy scratch, it was the second game in a row in which the fourth line contributed.
That lead didn’t hold up the rest of the way, but the perseverance the Wild showed in lassoing two points in the standings might be more important to the team in the long run.
And by improving to 1-1 on its California road swing, the trip has the potential to be a productive one.
“We’ve still got a shot at winning the week, and that’s our goal every week is just to win the week,” Boudreau said. “If you keep winning the weeks, then eventually you’re going to find yourself in the playoffs.”