The Wild’s luck with the puck looked like it was changing.
After getting stung by three own goals at the start of its work week, a third-period implosion in Dallas on Tuesday that led to the Wild getting steamrolled by the Stars, the team was finally the beneficiary of a bounce.
The Wild was up a goal in part from another fortuitous sequence — a wind-up from along the boards by winger Kevin Fiala that fooled Blues goalie Jake Allen — before a shot from captain Mikko Koivu caromed off St. Louis defenseman Colton Parayko before sailing behind Allen for a well-timed wave of breathing room late in the second period.
But it wasn’t long before the Wild was back to getting the bad breaks.
The Blues challenged the play, alleging goaltender interference. Although winger Zach Parise set up his screen outside the crease, he was charged with elbowing Allen, a controversial call that wiped the goal off the board and was the turning point in a 4-3 overtime rally by the defending Stanley Cup champions on Saturday at Xcel Energy Center.
Done was the three-game home win streak of the Wild, now 0-6-1 vs. the Central Division.
“I don’t really agree with it,” Parise said. “To me, I felt like I was a good foot outside the crease. To me, I’m there. That’s my ice. I’m not blocking him. He skates into me. I don’t think that’s my fault.
“… That was a big momentum swing, and then I felt like we just played [in the defensive] zone the rest of the game.”
Another bizarre decision helped the Blues pull even before Ryan O’Reilly capped off the comeback 2 minutes, 27 seconds into overtime by skating the puck into the Wild zone and beating goalie Devan Dubnyk.
At 6:05 of the third, Sammy Blais hauled down winger Luke Kunin behind the Wild net en route to burying his own rebound past Dubnyk. Not only was Blais not penalized, but the Wild received a bench minor after coach Bruce Boudreau yelled at the official.
“It seemed like a trip to our bench,” Kunin said.
After the game, Boudreau said there wasn’t goalie interference on Koivu’s goal but otherwise didn’t elaborate much on his disagreement — being mindful not to incur a fine for criticizing the officiating.
But he, and the players, agreed the game changed after that.
“They got a second chance, and they put their foot on the gas,” said Dubnyk, who had 25 saves. Dubnyk described the goalie interference call as a “joke” and “probably the worst” ruling he’d seen since review was implemented.
Had the Wild pulled away earlier, though, perhaps the impact of those moments would have been diminished.
Despite Allen looking shaky at the start, the Wild punished him only once — a deflection by Marcus Foligno at 2:26 of the first.
The Blues’ Mackenzie MacEachern tied it at four minutes when he batted in his own rebound, and Carl Gunnarsson made it 2-1 St. Louis on a five-hole shot at 14:25.
Fiala’s long-range look at 1:01 of the second evened it, and winger Mats Zuccarello’s one-timer on the power play at 4:39 regained the lead for the Wild (4-9-1). The Wild went 1-for-2 with the man advantage, while the Blues were 0-for-3.
But with 5:29 to go in the second, when the score flipped from 4-2 back to 3-2, the Wild’s control started to slip.
“It’s up to us in here, the group, to win games,” Zuccarello said. “Bounces or not, that’s going to go against you sometimes. You can’t rely on that. You got to earn it.”