BOSTON – One hour before the Wild had to put Monday’s Madison Square Garden meltdown officially in the rearview mirror, Zach Parise said it was imperative for the Wild to know that “mentally if you’re in the right place” Monday’s 3-0 blown third-period lead should have no impact on Tuesday’s game against the Boston Bruins.
Blown leads happen, and Parise promised, “We’ll be on the other side of it sometime later in the year.”
Three hours later, after Parise sparked the Wild’s comeback from two goals down in the third period to beat the perennially stingy Boston Bruins 4-3, the 30-year-old gave the old, “Told ya!” grin.
“I didn’t expect it to happen 24 hours later, but that’s the way it goes. It happens to everybody,” Parise said. “It happens to us. It happens to annually one of the best defensive teams in the league. That’s the way it goes. You get one, and then all of a sudden, you get a little momentum and start to feel good about yourself.”
Playing for the second time in 24 hours, playing without top-2 defenseman Jonas Brodin and third-line center Erik Haula and wounded from allowing a five-goal third period to the Rangers the night before, the Wild easily could have packed it in, trailing 3-1 and looked ahead to a three-game homestand.
Instead, the Wild showed no signs of third-period fatigue when it pushed back after zero pushback the night before.
Parise, after relentless pursuit to keep a possession alive, was the recipient of a sensational Mikael Granlund pass for a goalmouth tap-in 4:21 into the third.
“Those never get old when you have an open net. I’ll take those all season,” Parise said.
Just 2:13 later, the Wild’s fourth line tied the score. Justin Fontaine scored his first goal of the season after Matt Cooke deflected Justin Falk’s point shot. Ryan Carter, who has five assists in the past six games, jammed at the puck and Fontaine beat Tuukka Rask on the rebound.
The Wild kept pressuring. At one point the Wild, which outshot the Bruins 42-28, was outshooting Boston 17-4 in the third. Finally, with 5:53 left, defenseman Marco Scandella let rip a slapshot for the winning goal.
“I saw [Jason] Zucker come around, and I knew he was going to lay it in there for me, and luckily I got a lot of wood on that shot,” Scandella said.
The victory, one that gave the Wild a 5-3 record, came after coach Mike Yeo kept his top line of Parise-Granlund-Jason Pominville (13 combined shots) intact but put his other three lines through a blender.
For the first time, Yeo split veterans Thomas Vanek, who has one shot in the past four games and is without a goal on the season, and Mikko Koivu, who has one goal and no assists.
Less than 5 minutes in, after a solid Kyle Brodziak forecheck, Vanek set up Nino Niederreiter in the slot for a 1-0 Wild lead.
But the Bruins rallied on two goals by Seth Griffith and a power-play goal by Milan Lucic.
“I liked our first two periods though,” Yeo said. “We had a couple breakdowns. They looked like tired mistakes, but we were getting chances.
‘‘I felt we were in the fight and our guys proved it in the third period.”
Between periods, Yeo made some tactical adjustments, one that led directly to Parise’s goal. But there was no screaming and yelling by the leaders.
“We just said, ‘Keep going,’” Vanek said. “It’s not like we were lacking energy. I thought for a back-to-back we had shots, we had chances. Even the (0-for-26) power play had a few chances. I think the mood was good and there was no panic in here, which helps.”
Added Koivu referring to the loss to the Rangers: “We wanted it to be our turn to come back and push.”