Third-period comebacks and last-minute goals are trending right now for the Wild, leading the team to an overtime victory on Saturday after almost doing the same the previous game.
But what's also fueling these furious finishes are reconfigured lines, in-game adjustments that have yielded immediate results.
After Kevin Fiala and Victor Rask were paired up to revitalize the Wild in the 5-4 overtime loss to the Blues last Thursday, the two were joined Saturday by Nico Sturm to help organize another rally against St. Louis — and this one was successful, a 4-3 overtime stunner at Xcel Energy Center that ended the Wild's two-game skid.
"That's kind of what you wish for in that situation to happen," Sturm said.
Trailing 3-1 after two periods, the Wild promoted Sturm from the fourth line to the Fiala-Rask tandem.
Sturm switched spots with Nick Bjugstad, who was playing for the first time in nearly a month after sitting out eight games with an upper-body injury and then another four as a healthy scratch. Bjugstad was replacing Marcus Johansson, who the Wild learned that afternoon would be out because of an upper-body injury.
"Bjuggy, his game was good," coach Dean Evason said. "But it was off a bit, and we just wanted to just get that speed going. [Sturm] seemed like he had a lot of jump in his legs."
With less than six minutes to go in the third, the switch clicked. Sturm deflected in a Jonas Brodin shot with his back to the net, trimming the Wild's deficit to a goal.
"A mix of luck and skill," Sturm called the goal, which set the stage for what happened next.
Brodin's point shot sailed by Blues goalie Jordan Binnington with exactly one minute left in the third, and then in overtime, Fiala — who set up Brodin's shot — buried the game-winner. Fiala scored off a give-and-go with Mats Zuccarello, but the opportunity was created by Rask carrying the puck up ice at the end of a shift.
"It started with Rasker in the neutral zone," Bjugstad said. "I think he was gassed and put on a stickhandling clinic, and then Fiala took over from there."
That was the third goal Fiala and Rask have both had a direct hand in since they started skating together in the third period of Thursday's game but fifth overall the Wild has scored when they've been on the ice.
Sometimes, line changes are wholesale and random.
"Just put the numbers in a pingpong lottery and see what comes out," Evason said.
In other instances, the tweaks are subtle and precise — the strategy the Wild has opted for lately.
And whether the team sticks with what's working or reverts to what was in place before, it now has a record of what the reward for being adaptable can look like.
Same for the perseverance it takes to overcome adversity that pops up in a game.
"We have the skill set, and we have a really good hockey club that can win on any given night," Evason said. "If we do those things and hang around like we did here [Saturday], we catch a break and we get a win.
"It's a good thing for us now to be able to reference if we get in this situation again, mentally that we can get the job done."