NEW YORK – The Wild had a chance at redemption, to prove that its late-game collapse at the start of this three-game road trip was a fluke.
Protecting a one-goal lead late in the third period, the Wild was penalized — a cookie-cutter re-enactment of what transpired Saturday in Boston ahead of the Bruins overcoming a two-goal deficit to win in overtime.
But instead of the Wild rebounding, of showing it learned from its previous mistakes, history repeated itself.
After giving up the tying goal on the power play, the Wild again faltered in overtime — this time 3-2 to the Rangers on Monday in front of 18,006 at Madison Square Garden.
And while the outcome extended the team’s season-high point streak to six games (3-0-3), it also magnified the push to the finish line as the team’s latest trouble spot.
“It’s not inexperience, but you can’t take a penalty every game in the last five minutes,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “It’s just sort of sitting there and saying, ‘Here, team. We’re going to give you a great opportunity to score,’ and they seem to do it.”
Ahead 2-1 with 3 minutes, 8 seconds remaining, Ryan Hartman was penalized for tripping and New York capitalized on the ensuring power play.
Artemi Panarin, who assisted on all three Rangers goals, had his deflection carom off defenseman Ryan Suter and bounce off goalie Alex Stalock’s pads before landing in front of Chris Kreider for the easy-tap in at 17:10. The goal improved the Rangers to 1-for-4 with the man advantage, while the Wild went 0-for-2.
“It felt deflating, but we were trying to be up and positive about it,” Boudreau said. “We didn’t say, ‘Ah man, we’re done now.’ That wasn’t the thing. We thought, ‘Let’s kill this thing.’ There’ll be 1:08 left after the kill, and we’ll go ahead and salt the game away.”
In overtime, the Wild (9-11-4) tabbed Suter, his defensive partner, Jared Spurgeon, and center Joel Eriksson Ek — three of the team’s most responsible players, in Boudreau’s mind.
“Our goal was to hold them on that first shift and then come back and go all offense in the second,” said Boudreau, with forwards Kevin Fiala and Eric Staal and defenseman Matt Dumba waiting in the wings.
But the Wild never got that line change.
Tony DeAngelo busted through the slot to wire in the game-winner 32 seconds into the extra period, dropping the Wild to 0-4 this season in overtime and 12-32 all-time in 3-on-3.
“You don’t want to blame anybody, but the fact is it’s in our zone,” Boudreau said. “It’s man-on-man, and [Suter] got beat to the inside and the guy got a good shot away.”
That was also how the Wild got down in the first period, on a blistering wind-up from Lakeville’s Brady Skjei at 14:50 of an emotional first that included a standing ovation for winger Mats Zuccarello in his first game against his former team since the Rangers traded him last season.
“In a couple of days, I’ll probably look back and cherish the moment,” Zuccarello said.
Although the Wild was outmaneuvered for much of the second, it scored on a back-post shot by winger Zach Parise — his team-leading ninth goal — after a patient pass from Fiala at 17:11 on the Wild’s second and final shot of the frame.
At the other end, Stalock made 10 of his 28 saves. Henrik Lundqvist finished with 26.
“I was just seeing two guys very, very tired and made two fakes and saw Zach back door,” Fiala said.
The Wild regrouped for the third and was rewarded, with winger Ryan Donato scoring after a toe drag around Skjei 10 minutes in, but it couldn’t hang on the rest of the way.
“Obviously, the confidence when it gets to the last five minutes or overtime is not where it [needs to be],” Boudreau said, “and we need a situation where we hold off and we win those games.”