Hockey is a weird game. Sometimes weird is beautiful.
Only in hockey can a team do basically nothing for 10 minutes, spend most of that time chasing the puck in its own zone, muster not even one shot on goal — and then a stick breaks and boom, a pot of gold.
One busted stick, one shot, one goal and now the Wild suddenly has new life and new outlook against its nemesis.
A helping of old-fashioned hockey luck awoke the Wild and fueled a 6-2 bounce-back win over the St. Louis Blues in a Game 2 that felt as close to must-win in nature for the home team as it could without being a true elimination game.
Leaving for St. Louis down 0-2 in the series would have been bad news for the Wild. Depending on what happens next, the Wild might look back at Wednesday night and feel grateful that hockey sticks occasionally shatter.
The Wild's orbit tilted in a direction that had made fans so optimistic at the beginning of the week. The offensive firepower returned. Kirill Kaprizov recorded the team's first career postseason hat trick. Marc-Andre Fleury looked like the "Flower" in goal. Complementary players executed their roles.
It didn't hurt to get a little luck on their side, too.
The Blues dictated the action the first 10 minutes of the game. Generating zero shots through 10 minutes after being shut out in Game 1 created an ominous vibe.
Then St. Louis defenseman Robert Bortuzzo tried to pass the puck out of his zone and everything changed.
Bortuzzo's stick snapped, causing a turnover. Jordan Greenway scooped up the puck and fed Joel Eriksson Ek for a goal with 10 minutes, 27 seconds left in the period.
An arena filled with pent-up energy erupted. It was as if 10,000 pounds of tension escaped Xcel Energy Center as the Wild came alive.
"You've got to be at the right place at the right time," Eriksson Ek said. "But you can't say everything is luck."
Lucky or good, the game turned 180 degrees after that. The Wild dictated the action. Even the team's maligned power play hummed.
Frederick Gaudreau and Kaprizov scored power-play goals to give the Wild a 3-0 lead after one period.
The Wild went 2-for-2 with the man advantage in the first period after an 0-for-6 outing in Game 1. Coach Dean Evason offered unvarnished honesty when assessing his team's lousy special teams performance in the opener. He indicated his staff made adjustments to both special teams units after Game 1.
"Hopefully," he said, "we made the right ones."
Evason decided not to make an adjustment at goaltender, sticking with Fleury rather than switch to Cam Talbot.
Fleury rewarded his coach's trust by stopping 32 shots for his 91st career postseason win. The Blues got pucks past Fleury on the power play and a rocket by Vladimir Tarasenko early in the third, but the future Hall of Famer responded with a handful of difficult saves and was cool when pressured.
"Everything went a little better for us as a team," Fleury said. "That makes me look better too."
It's funny what play or moment in a game can spark a team. A busted stick got the Wild's motor revved up and now they have momentum after losing four consecutive games to the Blues this season.
Booed in the final seconds of Game 1, the Wild received a thunderous ovation at the end of Game 2. Fans chanted Fleury's name as he conducted a postgame interview on the ice. A lot changed in 48 hours.
"It's a pretty different feeling," Fleury said. "To get a win at home and have our fans cheering from start to finish was a good time. That was a fun game to play."