Zach Parise’s eighth career overtime goal – and first with the Wild -- 27 seconds into the extra session on a 4-on-3 led the Wild to a 2-1 win over Calgary tonight. Jason Zucker tied the score with 4:19 left and the Wild’s penalty kill, which includes goalie Niklas Backstrom, was credited for the win by the players.
The Wild gave up a goal to Alex Tanguay seven seconds into one power play in the first, but after that, the Wild’s PK went to work and killed off six in a row, including a five-minute major to Charlie Coyle in the second and a four-minute high-stick to Jonas Brodin in the third.
The Wild’s PK honestly put together a more aggressive forecheck at times than the Wild typically shows at 5-on-5. On the major, the Flames could barely get into the zone, let alone, get a shot. Seriously, no shots in five minutes.
Guys like Matt Cullen (14 of 17 in the circle) and Kyle Brodziak (12 of 16 in the circle) and Ryan Suter (two assists, plus-1 in 29:14 of ice time; 5:37 on the PK) and Mikko Koivu and Torrey Mitchell and others were real good on the PK. By the way, the Wild’s got the second-best faceoff win percentage in the NHL behind Boston (.535).
Read the gamer for more details and quotes, but on the Zucker goal, great headman pass by Suter to Devin Setoguchi. With Mikael Granlund driving the net and taking two defenders with him, Setoguchi’s original shot was blocked by Mark Giordano and bounced right back to Setoguchi. He saw “Speedy” (aka Zucker) driving the net.
“I knew if I just put it on his stick he’d have a good chance,” Setoguchi said. “He had so much momentum.”
He tied the game and the building was finally alive – the loudest it was all night with the exception of the arena’s game ops staff announcing the Gophers upset Indiana. The Wild kept coming, and Dany Heatley nearly scored soon after,
Finally, late with 44.2 seconds left, Giordano closed his hand on the puck for a penalty. The power play rolled into overtime and Koivu, who told Parise before overtime began that if he got the puck, to peel off to the side of the net, fed Parise down low. Parise backhanded it over Joey MacDonald for his second goal in nine game and second game-winning goal as a Wild.
“For whatever reason, I decided to throw a backhand on net,” Parise said. “I don’t know where it snuck through, but I’ll take it. I don’t if it went under, over, but it hit the back of the net.”
The power-play goal snapped an 0 for 6 drought in the game and 3 for 40 drought in nearly 13 games.
The power play actually was pretty good (other than an awful first one in the first) tonight. In the second, the Wild had one where it had four shots and Koivu hit his second pipe/crossbar of the night. Parise also had a goal disallowed in the first when he said they “apparently had a different camera angle in Toronto.” Steve Kozari ruled it a goal, meaning there needed to be definitive evidence that the puck didn’t completely cross the goal line for Toronto to overturn it. Toronto felt Giordano swept it from across the goal line. It was close.
Parise said that despite the offensive frustration tonight of chances without conversion, he was impressed the Wild didn’t start “cheating” offensively and defensively.
As of now, there is no hearing according to a league source for the Coyle “elbow” that was a “shoulder” to Matt Stajan in the second. That can change obviously because it’s late and all close calls like this are marked by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety and passed along to Brendan Shanahan in the morning. If there’s a hearing, I’ll let you know when I know (I’ll be in the air all morning though – hopefully with Internet access though).
Yeo said his view was if anything it should have been two minutes for interference. He felt it was a shoulder to Stajan’s chest.
Yeo was pretty emotional after the win just because the Wild fought through the adversity tonight. He said just like a bad loss or an injury in the season, when adversity comes during a game – like penalties, “you deal with it.”
He felt the Wild played “afraid” early, not afraid of Calgary, but of basically putting forth the effort and not getting the result. With things so darn emotional right now and losses magnified, a couple of us media members this morning figured this morning that the Wild would be “tight” tonight.
They certainly were early. But Setoguchi said choice words were said after the first and the Wild showed some fight in the second and third.
“I thought this was a huge step for our club,” Yeo said. “I love that we came out and fought like that.”
Talk to you after practice in Arizona or if there’s any news earlier.
More from Star Tribune
More from Russo's Rants
The Wild signed one of its three 2014 sixth-round picks Tuesday
Assistant coach Darby Hendrickson and goalie coach Bob Mason will sign new contracts and return to the club in their same roles. Former interim coach John Torchetti has interviews lined up elsewhere.
The Wild coach, who threw out the first pitch at Thursday's Twins game, is in town for meetings with management and players.
Vay will compete with Steve Michalek and Brody Hoffman for a minor league job.
The Wild landed its top choice, a coach who led Anaheim and Washington to eight division titles.