ANAHEIM, Calif. – Wild coach Bruce Boudreau was gazing up, tracking the play on the video board because the players on the bench stood up to block his view of the ice.
But he had an unobstructed look at what winger Mats Zuccarello’s successful breakaway early in the third period meant for his team.
“You could see the bench erupt when they scored,” Boudreau said. “When you haven’t won a lot of games, those are the kind of games you really get excited about.”
Zuccarello’s finish, which tied the game at 2, wasn’t the only clutch sequence.
The eventual 4-2 comeback over the Ducks Tuesday at Honda Center had plenty of them.
What kickstarted the rally was winger Kevin Fiala’s goal in the second.
Instead of going into the third period down by a pair, the Wild was only trailing by one – a much more manageable deficit, especially considering the team started to find a groove after Fiala’s one-timer at 9:34.
“That first goal by Kevin was a real goal that said, ‘Hey, we can do this,’” Boudreau said.
Before then, goalie Alex Stalock kept the Ducks from pulling away even further by making a key stop on Anaheim’s Max Jones just after the hosts went up 2-0.
The Ducks’ offense came just 25 second apart, with Rickard Rakell opening the scoring 1:27 into the second before Jacob Larsson provided insurance at 1:52.
On the very next shift, Jones nearly made it 3-0 but Stalock got in the way.
“I saw the guy coming backside, and I think the guy that passed it was on his backhand so it wasn't much of a shooting threat,” Stalock said. “I figured he was probably going to try to get it across and he did, and I got across. It was fortunate for me that he kind of shot it into my blocker, and he didn't get it up higher.”
In all, Stalock made 29 saves after getting the nod over No.1 Devan Dubnyk.
“He made a lot of key saves at the right time, and you need that,” center Eric Staal said. “In order to get wins in this league, you gotta have great goaltending and Al was that tonight.”
After Zuccarello evened it, the Wild was able to continue to capitalize on its momentum when Staal delivered his third game-winner of the season, all of which have come in the past seven games.
He has six points during a five-game point streak, and his line with Zuccarello and winger Jason Zucker has 22 points over the past seven games. Zuccarello also assisted on Staal’s game-winner.
Winger Zach Parise chipped in an empty-net goal, capping off a stout finish after a poor start in which the Wild looked extremely out-of-sorts for segments of the first.
But instead of crumbling like it has so often this season, the team persevered.
“We need to win,” Staal said. “At the end of the day, we have no other choice. We have to find a way to win games. You want to start a trip off with a win. I think to a man, we all knew that. It was a great effort, period, to come away with it, and now we want to carry that confidence and momentum to the next one.”