Powerless all game long, Wild flips the switch in OT

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 2, 2011 - 3:49 PM

Seven times in regulation the Minnesota power play sputtered. But given a shot in overtime, Devin Setoguchi connected to beat Detroit.

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DETROIT - Moments after the Wild failed to score on a long two-man advantage in the third period Tuesday night, Mike Yeo had a brief conversation with referee Dave Jackson.

The Wild coach might have been asking -- no, absolutely pleading -- for no more power plays.

Every time the Wild built some level of momentum against the Detroit Red Wings, every time the Wild seemed oh-so-close to tying the score, the zebras had the nerve to hand the Wild another power play.

Wild power plays have been as useless as an appendix this season. But shockingly, after failing to score on seven power plays, the Wild rallied for an out-of-nowhere 2-1 victory when it forced overtime with an extra attacker, then won it on an eighth and final power play awarded by, yes, Jackson.

Mikko Koivu ended a 19-game goalless drought dating to last season at the 19-minute mark to the third period, then Mr. Overtime, Devin Setoguchi, proved he doesn't only score playoff overtime winners.

Setoguchi, who scored three playoff overtime goals for San Jose, scored his first career regular-season overtime goal 1:33 in after a relentless effort, then setup by Koivu.

"We needed a goal. We needed to score there," Setoguchi said.

After not scoring seven previous times, including on a 1:24 two-man advantage, the Wild earned an eighth when Johan Franzen fell over the top of Josh Harding while he was out of his crease. On the 4-on-3 drawn up by assistant Darryl Sydor, Koivu's shot was blocked. He skated to the corner, protected the puck while knocking powerful defenseman Niklas Kronwall to the ice with a shoulder to the face.

Koivu skated between the circles and fed Setoguchi, who had been fighting for position with goalie Jimmy Howard. Setoguchi followed up his own shot for the winner.

"It could have been a much different story," Yeo said. "We don't get that power play in overtime or we don't get to overtime, and here we are talking about a lot of negatives. But the fact of the matter is the power play won us the game. They got the game-winner. We have to start building off that."

The improbable comeback came after what Yeo called a "complete disaster" of a first period. The Red Wings came out roaring, taking the game's first eight shots and scoring on a Nicklas Lidstrom deflection.

But from there, the Wild found its game, especially at even strength. But the power play kept hopping the boards to douse momentum.

Harding was sensational for a third consecutive start of the season against the Red Wings. He made 36 saves, including a slew of clutch ones late on two late penalty kills. He has stopped 110 of 114 shots against the Red Wings this season (a .965 save percentage).

"He was phenomenal. He looks in control while he's doing it," Yeo said. "I mean, when your goalie is playing like that, you have a chance to win every game."

Yeo also praised Koivu, calling him a "beast out there." With an extra attacker on, Koivu deflected Justin Falk's shot for the tying goal and his first since March 20, with a minute left.

"Sometimes a dirty one like that just goes in," Koivu said. "Five minutes before I had an empty net and [Howard's] hand comes from somewhere."

The comeback, at least temporarily, takes pressure off the Wild's 6-for-48 power play. But Yeo vowed to "look at our power play from all aspects, to the personnel we have, to even the scheme we're doing out there."

"We have a little bit of that right now where we're taking the results of the last power play into the next one with us," Yeo added. "You have to be able to hit the reset button."

  • WILD 2, DETROIT 1 (OT) Up next: 7 p.m. Thursday vs. Vancouver • TV: FSN (100.3-FM)

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