DALLAS – Not long ago, the Wild ended a 10-year run of 16 consecutive losses at American Airlines Center, so the Wild never has been too fond of playing in Dallas.
So Saturday night had the potential of being torturous for the Wild, especially given the fact it was playing the team Mike Yeo believes "arguably" is the most skilled in the NHL with last year's leading NHL scorer, Jamie Benn, and young star Tyler Seguin off to monstrous starts.
But the Zach Parise-less Wild and especially Devan Dubnyk did a high-quality job bottling up the dynamic duo. Unfortunately for Minnesota, it was Dallas' other young star, 23-year-old John Klingberg, who couldn't be contained.
Klingberg, the NHL's leading scorer among defensemen and a guy drafted 131st in 2010, had a three-point night, including the winner with 1 minute, 42 seconds left in overtime to give Dallas a 3-2 win in the Central Division showdown.
"He was pretty darn good again," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said of Klingberg. "If he doesn't [score the goal], you might write a story about Dubnyk."
The Stars fired 36 shots at Dubnyk, 18 from offensive talents Benn, Jason Spezza and Patrick Sharp.
The Wild was outshot 5-zip in overtime, the final dagger coming when Klingberg took Seguin's saucer pass on a 2-on-1 and roofed a beauty over Dubnyk's glove.
"I'm starting to dislike [3-on-3] the more we go here," said a smiling Dubnyk, his team 1-3. "Separate category for goals against, and I'll have no problem with 3-on-3."
One game after being the overtime hero at Carolina, Jason Zucker overextended his shift, then got on the wrong side of a puck battle between Benn and Mikko Koivu at the Stars blue line. When Benn bumped it up to Seguin, Zucker didn't have enough gas in the tank to backcheck.
"They got caught with some guys that were tired," Klingberg said. "I was tired, too."
Yeo wasn't happy with his team's 3-on-3 play, saying, "We've got to make sure we're not giving up 2-on-1 after 2-on-1."
Still, it was a well-earned point for the Wild, which twice battled back — on tying goals by Nino Niederreiter and Marco Scandella.
The Scandella goal was dramatic. The defenseman had been away from the Wild for a week at the bedside of his ailing father, Francesco. After saying his goodbyes and apparently making peace with that, Scandella contacted the Wild late Friday and said it was time to come back.
He told Dubnyk he was going to score. Scandella did, forcing overtime with a tying goal in the third period off an Erik Haula pass.
"You could tell it meant a lot," Haula said. "He was saying it was for his dad. It was a pretty special moment. I have all the respect in the world for that guy."
Added Dubnyk: "It's a difficult time for him right now. We miss him when he's gone, but we know some things are more important."
The Wild lost the special teams battle, giving up a power-play goal to Benn and a goal to Spezza one second after a power play. Both were deflected, both off Klingberg shots.
"That's a skilled team there. There's not really a way to stop them from getting their chances," Dubnyk said.
The Wild's power play went 0-for-4, the first three registering no shots. Overall, the Wild, which never could get the lead, had 24 shots, excluding 19 that were blocked and 23 others that missed the net.
"We got a point, which is OK, but we left some things out there that we could have been done better," Yeo said. "Top to bottom, I don't think that we were on them enough tonight."