NEWARK, N.J. — The Wild didn't arrive on time for the game, but the team never fell behind on the ice.
Despite getting dropped off at Prudential Center late — so much so that puck drop was pushed back about a half-hour — the Wild was still prepared enough to slip by the Devils 3-2 in a shootout on Wednesday to return home from its East Coast road trip 1-1-1.
"Sometimes if you don't think about the game too much, it sometimes helps," Nico Sturm said. "Not that it's an advantage, but it worked out fine."
Kevin Fiala was the only player to score in the shootout, his third career game-deciding goal, but goaltender Cam Talbot was the difference-maker.
He posted a season-high 40 saves before stopping all three New Jersey players in the shootout, a steady finish after the Devils' Yegor Sharangovich tied the score at 2 with 1 minute, 7 seconds left in the third period.
Talbot improved to 9-2-2 in his career when blocking at least 40 shots while picking up his 10th win of the season, a hefty workload on a night when his pregame routine was interrupted.
"It was pretty much just go out there and get ready to play the game," Talbot said. "That was pretty much it."
BOXSCORE: Wild 3, New Jersey 2 (SO)
Wild players were scheduled to arrive at the arena by 5 p.m. local time but didn't get there until 6:26. The game was initially scheduled to start at 7 but was ultimately bumped back to 7:33.
The delay was caused by a closure to the Holland Tunnel, which connects New Jersey to New York City, where the Wild was coming from since its hotel was in Manhattan. Marcus Foligno clocked the bus ride at two hours.
"We stopped I think about six blocks away from the hotel," Foligno said. "To get to where we wanted there was an accident and there was like no moving. We were stuck everywhere, and we probably stayed at that spot for 45 minutes."
Ryan Hartman wasn't sure if the game would get canceled.
"We were stuck on the same block for an hour and 10 minutes, at least, just sitting there," Hartman said. "There was nowhere to turn, especially with a big bus.
"Eventually, things started moving a little bit and we got out. Some police helped us make a left turn eventually somewhere, cleared some traffic for us, so we had to go back through Manhattan then over to the other tunnel."
About 10 minutes away from the arena in Newark, the Wild pulled over and ended up waiting five minutes for a police escort.
"As soon as we got the police escort, there was no one on the road," Foligno said.
Still, the mood was light.
Players had a "dance party," Foligno said, and were laughing and joking. They even played the song, "Don't Worry Be Happy."
"We were having a great time," Talbot said.
That vibe seemed to carry over to the ice when the Wild finally got down to business.
Hartman tipped in a Dmitry Kulikov point shot 12:10 into the first period, the first time the Wild opened the scoring on this trip after losses to Florida (regulation) and Tampa Bay (shootout).
The goal was Hartman's team-leading 10th goal and the fourth time in his career he's hit double digits in goals and first season since 2018-19.
Then, with 54 seconds to go in the period, Sturm doubled the Wild's lead when he buried a 2-on-1 pass from Frederick Gaudreau for the Wild's first shorthanded goal of the season and the first of Sturm's career.
"We loved our start, finally," coach Dean Evason said. "But we didn't love too much after that because we didn't manage the game."
The Devils peppered Talbot with shots. He fended off 18 in the first period alone, matching his most stops in a period this season.
Some of his best work came against a one-timer from the Devils' Jimmy Vesey and a redirection by Andreas Johnsson that saw Talbot stretch out to get a piece with his pad.
"If he's not doing what he's doing, it's a different story out there," Evason said."
Not until 3:08 into the third period did New Jersey finally get a puck behind Talbot, a one-timer by Pavel Zacha, this after the Devils rang two pucks off the post earlier in the game. Overall, New Jersey hit four posts.
New Jersey had a chance at the equalizer late in the third with a 5-on-3 power play for 1:08, but Talbot got in front of all five shots he faced during both advantages for the Devils. They finished 0-for-4 on the power play, while the Wild went 0-for-3.
And Talbot remained locked in after New Jersey evened the score, picking up four more saves in overtime before getting in front of all three shootout chances. At the other end, Mackenzie Blackwood made 25 saves for New Jersey.
"I just tried to come in here and not overthink anything, just go out there and control what I can control," Talbot said. "That's all you can do in a game like that, a situation like this. That was my mind-set coming into it and I feel like I was able to execute that."