LAS VEGAS – Nick Bonino arrived at Xcel Energy Center for a game Wednesday two hours before puck drop, as he normally does, and went through his usual warmup.
But before that, his day was far from typical.
Bonino and his wife, Lauren, welcomed their third child, a son named Bowie, on Wednesday afternoon before Game 6 against Vegas in St. Paul.
"My plan was to play the whole day," said Bonino, 33. "Everything was smooth. The baby and mom were healthy, and [I was] able to get to the game at 6 [p.m.] and then felt a little bit tired in warmups. But Game 6, elimination game, those are easy to get up for. I thought it was great to be a part of a win like that."
After getting to the hospital around 7 a.m., Lauren delivered Bowie at approximately 2:30 p.m. and Bonino spent time with them while also trying to grab a snooze on the couch before taking off for the game.
The Boninos met at Boston University, where both were standout hockey players. Nick Bonino played on a national championship team at BU, and won two Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Lauren Cherewyk, who was from St. Albert, Alberta, had 33 goals and 38 assists in 144 games for the Terriers women's team from 2007-11. They married in 2014.
The veteran forward faced another goodbye when he had to travel to Vegas for Game 7 on Friday; daughters Maisie and Isobel are also home with Lauren.
"He's a day old, but we're in the playoffs," Bonino said. "We've got help at home with Lauren's family, so these are things we were ready for."
Bright lights of Game 7
Half of the players in the Wild's lineup suited up Friday night for their first career Game 7s, one of the brightest spotlights in pro sports, let alone the NHL and Stanley Cup playoffs.
"When you're a kid playing road hockey or shooting on the net in your backyard or front of your garage, you're always talking about Game 7 game winner," coach Dean Evason said.
"We're all kids, right? We're all kids playing a game."
Bonino brought the most Game 7 experience to the ice for the Wild, appearing in six Game 7s before Friday. Ian Cole, who like Bonino won Stanley Cups with the Penguins in 2016 and 2017, was next with five previous games.
Marcus Johansson, who's out because of a broken left arm, has logged the most Game 7s among Wild players with eight.
Four players in action for the Wild on Friday also participated in the team's last Game 7, a 5-4 overtime win at Colorado on April 30, 2014.
Defenseman Jared Spurgeon tied the game at 4 with 2 minutes, 27 seconds to go in the third period, and Nino Niederreiter scored 5:02 in overtime to seal the comeback. Aside from Spurgeon, defensemen Ryan Suter and Jonas Brodin and winger Zach Parise were also part of the rally.
"We trailed the entire game and we kept tying it up, and I remember Jared scoring that late one to make it 4-4 and [goalie Ilya Bryzgalov] coming in and shutting the door and then all of a sudden Nino getting that game-winner for us," Parise said. "It was an exciting game. It was awesome for us as a team.
"There's just that special thing about Game 7s from a player's perspective, what's on the line. They're the games you want to play in, and then also from a fan's perspective, they're always exciting to watch."
Brodin injured early
The Wild lost defenseman Jonas Brodin in the first period of Friday's game when he took a hit along the boards. He didn't return, meaning the Wild had to rotate five defensemen into play.
Suter played 28 minutes, 50 seconds and Matt Dumba played 28:47 as they ate up most of the minutes. Brodin's night ended after only two shifts.
Center Joel Eriksson Ek, who suffered a leg injury in Game 6 when he flew into a goalpost, had the injury aggravated during the game, but was able to continue.
The Wild played the past three games without defenseman Carson Soucy, who has an undisclosed injury. Soucy skated Friday morning and was "progressing," Evason said, meaning he likely could have returned had the Wild advanced to play Sunday against Colorado. Calen Addison again played in Soucy's place Friday.