The Wild was barely recognizable, and it wasn't just because players were debuting North Stars-themed jerseys.
After its manpower was sapped in recent days by suspension, injury and the NHL's COVID protocols, the team rolled out a brand-new lineup that included three call-ups from the taxi squad — a Sunday scramble that could have been a recipe for disaster against a suave Colorado squad.
Instead, it was a precursor to another change, and that was the outcome on the ice.
Despite missing four regulars and coming off a crushing loss to the same team, the Wild prevailed in a gutsy 4-3 overtime win at Xcel Energy Center, splitting the first half of a four-game series with the Avalanche before the action moves to Colorado.
"We were embarrassed last game," Ryan Suter said. "I don't think it mattered who was in the lineup tonight. We knew we had to be better."
Jonas Brodin capped off the comeback just 18 seconds after the extra session began, burying a Jordan Greenway pass for his first career overtime goal. The finish improved the Wild to 3-0 in overtime games this season while also spoiling a 29-save outing by North Branch's Hunter Miska in his second career start.
"I saw the lane, and then I was just trying to shoot it as hard as I could," Brodin said.
Not only was the score closer than the 5-1 dusting by the Avalanche on Saturday, but the feel of the game was much more competitive — especially on special teams. Neither power play capitalized, with the Wild going 0-for-3 and the Avalanche 0-for-4.
"We played a little more tighter," Brodin said, "[didn't] give them so much space to make plays."
And this improvement was surprising considering the Wild (6-4) could have easily limped through the evening.
Defenseman Matt Dumba and winger Marcus Johansson left Saturday's game with injury and remained sidelined Sunday, and on Sunday morning, the Wild learned winger Marcus Foligno was entering the NHL's COVID protocols and would be unavailable.
Already, the team was down winger Kevin Fiala, who is serving a three-game suspension for boarding.
To replace those four players, the Wild ushered forwards Gerald Mayhew, Kyle Rau and Luke Johnson onto the roster from the taxi squad and gave Brad Hunt a spot on the blue line. The Wild also got starting goalie Cam Talbot back; it was Talbot's first appearance since he went down with a lower-body injury on Jan. 22.
And in a spunky effort that seemed to channel the inspiration behind the team's retro green and gold threads, the Wild didn't skate like an underdog.
"It's just kind of next-man-up mentality this year," said Talbot, who had 22 stops, including a clutch grab on Nathan MacKinnon before MacKinnon left injured. "We know that these situations are going to come up throughout a season, and you just have to be ready for it and battle it out."
After Joonas Donskoi split the Wild defense and wristed the puck by Talbot 4:33 into the first period on Colorado's first shot on goal, the Wild retaliated before the period ended.
Greenway stuffed in a Joel Eriksson Ek rebound at 16:19 to extend his career-best point streak to four games. He also has a team-high 10 points.
The Wild led 2-1 early in the second after Victor Rask buried a Jared Spurgeon feed. But just 2:03 later, the Avalanche tied it on a slick shot by Cale Makar. And at 7:09 of the third, Brandon Saad clanked a shot off the post and crossbar before the puck fell into the net.
Again, the Wild responded, with Rask's shot through traffic at 12:34, ringing up as Rask's first multigoal game with the Wild and paving the way for another overtime classic.
"This was a great team win for our team," Brodin said, "and gives us some confidence going into Colorado."