Wild coach Bruce Boudreau’s list of possibilities for the shootout typically only includes five candidates.
So once the team reached Round 6 still deadlocked with the Anaheim Ducks, he had to brainstorm.
“Usually it doesn’t go by five,” Boudreau said. “Anything after that, it’s who do I think is having a good game, who do I think is hot, who didn’t play very well and wants to redeem himself.”
Boudreau nearly emptied the bench as he searched for a solution to the marathon finish. But after 11 attempts for each side, the longest shootout in Wild history, the team fell 3-2 on Saturday at Xcel Energy Center.
“Just hope our next guy scores,” Boudreau said. “By the time we get there, there’s not a lot of guys that have been in shootouts before. You hope they score.”
A nine-round duel was the team’s previous record — done twice, with a Feb. 11, 2011 5-4 shootout win over the Blues the most recent. The 11 attempts goalie Devan Dubnyk faced are the most shots encountered by a Wild goaltender.
After Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf scored in the first round, Dubnyk turned aside two pucks before winger Ondrej Kase went five-hole to tie it at 2-2; wingers Zach Parise and Nino Niederreiter capitalized in rounds three and four, respectively, to extend the action before Dubnyk and the Ducks’ John Gibson traded saves for the next six rounds.
Ducks winger Nick Ritchie wired in the winner.
“You don’t start thinking about having to stop it for it to continue or not,” Dubnyk said. “You just want to play each shot and make sure you’re out far enough and not giving them much. You’ve got a decent scout on the first few guys, and then after that you’re just playing breakaways.”
Parade to penalty box
Niederreiter’s nod in the shootout appeared to fall under Boudreau’s redemption category. The 25-year-old was demoted and then benched for most of the third period after committing a pair of penalties earlier in the game.
Just 27 seconds into the first, Niederreiter was whistled for holding, which gave the Ducks a power play they capitalized on for an early lead. Later, only 38 seconds into the second, Niederreiter was back in the box for high-sticking.
“It’s tough,” Niederreiter said. “But at the end of the day, two penalties. Coach didn’t like it and that’s just how it goes. … Obviously, you’re hungry. You want to get the puck. You want to create something. Obviously high stick was tough. Other one was just out battling, trying to get the puck. That’s what I’ve been doing all the time. But at the end of the day, if you get called, it’s never a good feeling. Obviously, they scored on it, too, so it’s tough.”
Upon further review
The back official flung out his arms to motion his verdict, and the horn was subsequently silenced.
But Wild winger Jason Zucker kept celebrating what he felt was a goal.
And he was right.
After the four officials held a conference near center ice, the initial no-goal call was reversed, in a ruling that said Zucker’s stick was shy of the crossbar when he deflected a Nate Prosser shot between Gibson’s legs in the second period to put the Wild up 2-1 and secure his 23rd goal – a new career high.
“I felt it was,” Zucker said. “Typically you can somewhat sense it, but it was probably close. But my initial feeling was that it was under.”
• Winger Chris Stewart returned to the Wild lineup after being a healthy scratch for five games. He logged 9:49 in ice time.
• The Wild changed up its look on defense, moving Matt Dumba to the top pairing next to Ryan Suter and placing Jared Spurgeon next to Gustav Olofsson.
“I just thought it would balance it out more,” Boudreau said.