The Capitals scored more goals than the Wild and still didn't win.
After an unusual own goal by Washington cut the Capitals' lead in half, the Wild used the bizarre boost to rally to a 3-2 shootout victory on Saturday in front of an announced 19,078 at Xcel Energy Center.
"Those are reasons why you make the playoffs," Marcus Foligno said. "These wins are huge. We'll take it any way we can get it."
Kevin Fiala delivered in the shootout after assisting on Mats Zuccarello's equalizer with 35 seconds left in the third period, a tale of redemption as Fiala was benched after taking three penalties in the second period.
"We were fully prepared to not play him again," coach Dean Evason said. "But everybody gets second opportunities or more."
Fiala swung the puck to Zuccarello, who then sent a give-and-go with Matt Dumba to the net from along the wall, a shot that squeaked through Capitals goaltender Zach Fucale to send the game to extra time. The goal was the Wild's 11th this season at 6-on-5, which is tops in the NHL.
That was also the first puck the Wild actually deposited into the Washington net.
With Fucale on the bench for an extra attacker during a delayed Wild penalty in the second period, a pass by Carl Hagelin split his teammates and sailed back 152 feet into the Capitals' empty net.
Foligno, who tipped the puck before it reached Hagelin, was credited with the goal at 13:55, his career-high 14th of the season and the 100th of his career. Foligno never officially registered a shot on net in the game.
"We needed that goal at that time," Evason said. "We were reeling a little bit. They were coming. We needed some kind of a break."
That own goal prevented Fucale from becoming the first goalie to record back-to-back shutouts in his first two NHL starts, but he did extend his shutout streak to 138:31 to claim the record for the longest run without allowing a goal to begin his NHL career.
Matt Hackett had the previous best of 102:48 with the Wild in 2011. Fucale finished with 21 saves.
At the other end, Kaapo Kahkonen made 29 stops in another solid outing, his second consecutive start since No. 1 Cam Talbot was sidelined with injury.
Not until 2:41 of the second did the Capitals get a puck behind Kahkonen, a tip by Connor McMichael off a Nick Jensen shot.
Their next goal came just four seconds into a power play, a one-timer by Evgeny Kuznetsov set up by Alex Ovechkin at 5:48.
That was the first of four power plays for Washington in the second; Fiala was called for three of those Wild penalties in 4:27, a holding the stick infraction and two trips. Ryan Hartman also was whistled for a trip, the delayed penalty that led to the Capitals' own goal.
"It's not like I did it on purpose," Fiala said. "But bad penalties. Can't do that. Hurt my team there."
Fiala was absent for the final seven minutes of the second period and didn't take his first shift in the third until near the midway point.
His omission amplified an already depleted-looking lineup. Because of a rash of injuries and COVID-19 absences, the Wild was missing nine regulars.
Once he returned, Fiala made a difference, though Kahkonen was the reason why the Wild still had a chance at a comeback.
He was especially strong shorthanded, with the Wild going 4-for-5 on the penalty kill. The power play was 0-for-1.
Kahkonen's best save came during one of those Washington power plays when he sprawled out to keep out a Lars Eller attempt.
"He's confident, and we're confident with him back there," Foligno said of Kahkonen, who improved to 6-1-1 over his past nine games. "He's so poised. He's such a great teammate. Huge stops. That one back-door on the penalty kill was huge."
In the shootout, Kahkonen made two more saves to help the Wild finally get ahead of the Capitals.
Frederick Gaudreau also capitalized for the Wild with his first career shootout goal, while Fiala is now 3-for-6 this season.
"I was fired up just to help the team, whatever it takes," Fiala said. "It was a big win for us."