The Wild had to climb out of a two-goal hole and then rally again late in regulation to force overtime, but this adversity seemed to be just what the team needed to record its first win of the season – momentum the group hopes to carry into its next test Saturday at Xcel Energy Center against the Hurricanes.
“It was great for us to come back,” winger Jason Zucker said. “It showed a lot from our older guys, our leadership, to get that goal at the end and come back and be able to have a comeback win.”
Whether or not the Wild uses the same lineup that helped it to a 4-3 overtime win over the Blackhawks Thursday is unclear.
Forward Joel Eriksson Ek was on the ice Friday and then left practice. Coach Bruce Boudreau said Eriksson Ek is sore, and he wasn’t sure if Eriksson Ek would be available to suit up against Carolina.
Eriksson Ek started Thursday’s game next to Zucker and center Eric Staal but then was moved to the third line to start the second. He centered Nino Niederreiter and Charlie Coyle, while Jordan Greenway shifted from center to wing on the Staal-Zucker line, and the changes seemed to suit the Wild.
Staal and Zucker combined for three goals and six points, with Zucker posting a career-high 10 shots – one of which clinched the win in the extra period on a breakaway.
“It’s an awful lot easier to sleep when you win no matter if you have to do it in almost impossible fashion or not,” Boudreau said. “I thought there was so many good things to take out of that game that it makes you feel better going into [Saturday].”
Jason Zucker-Eric Staal-Jordan Greenway
Zach Parise-Mikko Koivu-Mikael Granlund
Nino Niederreiter-Charlie Coyle-J.T. Brown
Marcus Foligno-Matt Hendricks-Eric Fehr
Ryan Suter- Matt Dumba
Jonas Brodin-Jared Spurgeon
Nick Seeler-Greg Pateryn
99: Career goals for Zucker.
1-0-1: The Wild’s record against the Hurricanes in 2017-18.
4: Points for Staal last season vs. Carolina.
104: Saves so far for goalie Devan Dubnyk.
3: Points in three games this season for winger Zach Parise.
About the Hurricanes:
Carolina is off to one of the best starts in the NHL, boasting seven points after going 3-0-1. In their three wins, the Hurricanes have scored a combined 16 goals. The team hasn’t played since Tuesday when it edged the Canucks 5-3. Winger Sebastian Aho has a team-high six points, while forwards Jordan Staal and Warren Foegele pace the pack in goals with three. Captain Justin Williams has 20 points in 31 career games against the Wild.