LOS ANGELES – Instead of jetting off to a new city, the Wild hung around Los Angeles after its season opener for a double dose of the Kings — one of the quirks in the 2021 schedule that has the Wild playing every opponent at least twice before moving on to someone else.
The rematch didn't exactly hint at a rivalry brewing between these new neighbors in the West Division, but it did lead to some early separation in the standings.
After claiming Round 1 in extra time Thursday, the Wild stuck to the same script by overcoming a two-goal deficit in the third period to eke out a 4-3 overtime victory and start the season 2-0 for the first time since 2015. It's the first time a team won its first two games of a season by overcoming a multigoal deficit, according to NHL Stats.
"We're a confident group no matter what the score is, which is a good sign," goalie Cam Talbot said.
Defenseman Ryan Suter extended the action when he scored with two seconds remaining in the third period, and center Marcus Johansson completed the rally on a rising shot with 11 seconds to go for the sweep. Kirill Kaprizov set up the game-winner, his fourth point in his young NHL career.
(Editor's note: On Sunday, the Suter goal was credited to Matt Dumba, who deflected the shot on the way in.)
This was just the second time in Wild history the team has won back-to-back games after trailing by multiple goals in the third period, with Oct. 28 and 30, 2014, the other instance.
"It's unbelievable to see that we can turn games around like this," Johansson said. "Obviously, we don't want to do that every night. But it shows the strength we have in this group and the belief in what we're doing."
Like Thursday, when the Wild also came from behind for a 4-3 victory, capped by Kaprizov's overtime goal to seal a three-point NHL debut for the rookie, the Kings were the first to rally.
Just 21 seconds after the game's first faceoff, the Wild converted on a fortunate play as Dumba's centering feed from below the goal line caromed off Los Angeles' Kurtis MacDermid and behind goalie Jonathan Quick — who ended up with 40 saves. Talbot had 30.
With the secondary assist on Dumba's goal, Suter notched the 500th of his career and 300th with the Wild.
But the Wild's lead didn't make it to intermission.
At 16:58, a rebound rolled through the crease behind Talbot and Gabe Vilardi barely tapped the puck over the goal line. The sequence, which began after a turnover by center Nick Bjugstad, went to video review to confirm the puck completely crossed into the net.
In the second period, the Kings pulled away.
First, Blake Lizotte, a former St. Cloud State standout, deflected in a Drew Doughty point shot at 7:02.
And then only 3:20 later while action was at 4-on-4, Andreas Athanasiou took advantage of a Kaprizov turnover — leading a 2-on-1 rush into the Wild's zone and finishing off a give-and-go passing play with Jeff Carter for Los Angeles' 3-1 cushion.
Soon after, the Wild was awarded a power play but a Kaprizov turnover sparked another 2-on-1 look for Los Angeles and Kaprizov took a slashing penalty on the backcheck that negated the Wild's opportunity.
"A couple turnovers," coach Dean Evason said, "but we all had a couple turnovers."
Overall, the Wild went 0-for-5 on the power play after an 0-for-6 start in Game No.1. The Kings also finished 0-for-5 on the power play.
Down 3-1 again after two periods, the Wild rehashed its strategy from Thursday and began to chip away at the deficit — starting with a put-back from center Joel Eriksson Ek at 7:38. Greenway registered his second assist of the night on the play.
Then at 19:58, Suter walked into a loose puck that sailed past Quick's glove to extend the action before Johansson one-timed in a Kaprizov pass. Just before Suter's goal, the Kings' throw at an empty net hit the post — a close call that could have put the Wild behind by 2.
"It's nice to get that bounce, for sure," Suter said. "It wasn't pretty, but we'll take the win."