I don’t know how the Wild keeps giving up these 3-0 leads, but it certainly made for a quotable locker room after it survived tonight during a 5-4 overtime victory over the Dallas Stars.

For the third time this season, the Wild coughed up a 3-zip lead in what felt like were nanoseconds.

Last month at the Rangers, the Wild gave up five in the third to lose 5-4. Twelve days ago, the Wild gave up three in the third to go to overtime only to see Marco Scandella, fresh off the mumps, win it.

Scandella’s getting good at saving the Wild’s bacon after blown 3-0 leads. Amazingly less than two weeks after winning the Jets game, Scandella pulled it off again tonight with the OT winner off Zach Parise and Thomas Vanek assists.

It came after Nino Niederreiter, Jason Zucker and Mikael Granlund built the Wild a 3-0 lead. But in the final 3:42 of the second period – and in a 3:31 span – Ales Hemsky, Tyler Seguin and Erik Cole – tied the score.

Coach Mike Yeo had a big choice between periods. One game after pulling Darcy Kuemper for a second consecutive home start, could Yeo trust Kuemper enough to chill the heck out and not get so rattled that he would disintegrate in the third period?

After all, Kuemper was playing well before the vanished lead, and the Hemsky goal came after a terrific move on Ryan Suter, the Seguin goal came after the Wild let the NHL’s leading goal scorer fly right off the gut off an odd-man rush and the Cole goal came through (maybe) a screen.

So in Yeo’s mind, this was not like his recent pulls when Kuemper was giving up bad goals left and right and fighting the puck.

But Yeo, after leaders Mikko Koivu and Suter went over to Kuemper between periods to give him a pep talk, boldly stayed with Kuemper and he responded by stopped 19 of 20 third-period shots (and so many great ones, including a game saver in the final minute on Antoine Roussel). Yes, he gave up the go-ahead goal to Alex Goligoski on yet another top-line odd-man rush after Niederreiter got tripped up on a breakaway. But after Yeo brought Kuemper to the bench with 2:01 left for an extra attacker, Vanek scored his biggest (and second) goal as a Wild with 1:52 left to force overtime.

Remember the Tampa game when Yeo said he may revisit which players he tosses out there in need of a tying goal late after Zach Parise, Vanek, Koivu, Jason Pominville, Suter and Granlund couldn’t get it done on a 6-on-4 power play? Well, Yeo put his trust in the same exact six on this 6-on-5, Parise won a puck battle and finally a puck came right to Vanek in his sweet spot. He didn’t miss his only shot of the game.

Vanek had a sense of humor about both his goals this season coming against Dallas: "I think we play them 2 more times, so hopefully I can get my total to 4. This is obviously not the start I wanted, but I can’t dwell on the last 20 games. It’s just about coming the next day and staying positive and just keep going.

“I feel like I’m making plays and I’m getting in the areas. I was lucky enough to get a puck to get a chance there, but I feel like I’m finding the open spots, just the puck’s not coming or it’s hitting a stick or it’s going in front of me or behind me. This time it was right on and gave me a chance.”

Vanek has been a lightning rod for criticism all year and certainly was in this game again as he turned pucks over early and waved at a puck at his feet as he went for a line change before Seguin’s second goal.

What’s frustrating about Vanek besides the giveaways and lack of shots is that when he decides to move his feet, he does what he did to Kyle Brodziak earlier this year (two goals) and what he did on Scandella’s winner. When he wants to skate, he skates, and he did on this play when he recognized a loose puck pop into the defensive-zone slot. He turned on the jets and took off on a 2-on-2 with Scandella. He then was smart enough to pull up at the blue line, take Jason Demers with him, wait for Parise, who assisted on his third goal of the night to set up the Scandella winner.

Vanek earlier in the game also made a terrific assist on Niederreiter’s team-leading 11th goal. Brodziak’s forecheck rushed a clear by a Dallas defender. Vanek picked it off along the wall and immediately found Niederreiter alone in the slot for the bang-bang goal.

I didn’t have the space to get into this on deadline in Saturday’s paper, but I’ll probably run with it Sunday.

Yeo said, “There are a number of things that we’re still working with him. I’m talking to Thomas regularly and talking to him this morning and we’re looking at video and we’re going to support him and we’re going to keep getting him through. This is a different conference he’s playing in. It’s a different team, a different structure and system and the way we play the game is very different than what he’s been doing for a lot of years, so it’s going to take some time. As long as we keep seeing the improvement, everything else will follow along with it. That’s the thing with his skill. As long as he’s doing all the little things and continuing to play the system the right way, it’ll put him in a great position for his skill to shine.”

On Vanek not showing a willingness at time to do those little things or skate, Yeo said, “The consistency is going to come, that’s our job as far as developing the habits. They’re not habits right now and we can talk about capabilities or abilities or whatever, but we have to form habits and that takes time. But we’re seeing some progress here and that’s the key.”

After the Niederreiter goal, Zucker scored his ninth, and he was laboring all game after sustaining what Yeo called a leg bruise and charleyhorse (Twitter docs tell me they’re two separate things, but that’s what Yeo said), so we’ll see if Zucker will be good to go in front of Niklas Backstrom and the Wild on Saturday when the team opens a four-game homestand.

Then, Parise and Pominville set up Granlund. Here’s something interesting, but 15 of the Wild’s 16 goals of the past six games have come from Parise, Scandella, Niederreiter and Zucker.

On the game, Yeo said, “A rollercoaster, yeah. Really liked our first period. Second period you could feel that we were coming out and we were definitely letting them be the aggressors. We were on our heels pretty much right from the first shift and I thought that all the things we were doing well in the first period as far as winning 1-on-1 battles, the detail, all the little things, it was starting to slip and then we scored the third goal, but there was never a point where I was feeling comfortable because we just weren’t going the right way.”

On why he stuck with Kuemper after two, Yeo said, “Yeah it’s what I talked about this morning (see previous blog). Listen, we all would love to just coast through and have things be great night after night. What’s real important is how you handle things when things don’t go well. This is twice now coming into this building he’s bounced back. But I think even more importantly, overcoming the adversity of that second period, for him the way he came out in the third period, have to be real impressed.”

On if he was worried Kuemper would crumble like the LA game or NYR game, “I think this was a different game first of all. It’s not like this was a game where he’s fighting the puck. He was in this game. He was engaged. He was seeing it and tracking it well and playing big in the net. You’re always probably a little bit worried about how are you going to deal with that, even if you’re playing a great game and things haven’t gone well. I just liked the way that he picked himself up after. This is why we left him in last game as well. These are things that you have to deal with. It’s not always going to go the right way. It’s not always going to go the way that you draw it up, but that can’t kill you. You have to be able to find a way and that’s what he did.”

Please read the gamer for Kuemper and Scandella quotes.

Suter and Parise talked a lot after the game about how the Wild needs to learn how to respond the right way after taking leads.

“Too many turnovers the last half of the second period,” Suter said. “We turned the puck over every time we were coming out of our end. We feel very fortunate to come out with two points.

“We’ve got to learn. We have to learn to make the right play. A lot of times we get up three goals, we let our guard down and try to do the extra stuff. That’s usually when it ends up costing us.”

Great game by Parise (three assists, two shots, seven attempts shots, four hits, three takeaways, plus-2) after talking this morning about video work Yeo did with his line to show bad habits that crept into their game.

Scandella was plus-3…Jonas Brodin was plus-2 in his return from the mumps after missing seven games.

Lastly, goalie Josh Harding is expected to make his first Iowa start Sunday at San Antonio. Due to complications with multiple sclerosis that sidelined him the second half last season and then a broken right foot sustained days before the Wild’s training camp, Harding hasn’t played since Dec. 31.

That’s it. I still have to do Wild Minute, get back to the hotel, and it's almost 12:30. Very early flight and I have to fly back to Minnesota via ATLANTA, so not updates via Twitter on the St. Louis game until the late afternoon (No morning skate anyway). Yeo will talk at 4:45 p.m. Saturday. Not positive yet whether myself or Kent Youngblood will be at the controls Saturday, but at the very least, I’ll go to the game to write the notebook, tweet and blog.