PITTSBURGH – Ryan Hartman, who had just submitted the latest buzzer-beater in a young season that already had a few last-minute goals, was waiting on deck for his chance to go 1-on-1 with the goaltender.
But the Wild's leading goal scorer never got the nod, not when shootout specialist Nick Bjugstad was one spot ahead of him.
"I don't mind it," Hartman said.
After idling for the last 5 minutes of regulation and then the 5-minute overtime session, Bjugstad swooped in off the bench and scored in the shootout to stun the Penguins 5-4 on Saturday in front of 17,181 at PPG Paints Arena for the Wild's sixth comeback win of the season.
"You go into a shootout anything can happen," Bjugstad said. "Luckily we prevailed."
This was Bjugstad's sixth game-deciding goal in the shootout where he's now converted on more than 33 percent of his shots (12-for-34). He lifted the puck over Pittsburgh goalie Tristan Jarry, this after Kirill Kaprizov also went top-shelf on a floater in the previous attempt to push the action to a fourth round.
"I hadn't been on the ice in a little bit, so you don't like to overhandle it," said Bjugstad, who was playing his first game against Pittsburgh since the team traded him to the Wild ahead of last season. "I saw an opening there and thankfully it went in."
The Wild was in this position after Hartman scored his team-leading fifth goal with 3 seconds left in the third period to tie the game at 4, erasing the Wild's second two-goal deficit of the game.
Rookie Adam Beckman handed the puck off to Matt Dumba, and his shot hit traffic in front before caroming right to Hartman for the quick putback.
"I thought Dumba was gonna score," Hartman said. "I kinda was just looking at the net, and it hit something and right to my tape."
Beckman, who retrieved the puck behind the net before passing to Dumba, earned his first NHL point with the assist.
"Moose and I were just battling down low, just desperate," said Beckman, referring to Marcus Foligno. "A couple seconds left on the clock. Puck was bouncing. Moose kinda tied the guy up, so I picked it up and got it to the front of the net."
In overtime, Talbot fended off a Jason Zucker breakaway and sandwiched a John Marino shot beneath his pad. Overall, he had 35 saves in improving to 7-2. Jarry had 36.
"He keeps us in games when the game could slip away from us," coach Dean Evason said. "Even when teams are up, he keeps us in the game."
That was certainly the case against the Penguins.
Talbot had six saves before the action was even five minutes old, but it was the Wild (7-3) that scored first when Kaprizov cleaned up the rebound off an Alex Goligoski shot that hit the post at 9:44 of the first.
Not only was the goal Kaprizov's second in as many games after snapping an eight-game drought, but it counted as his 60th career point. He became the fastest player to debut with the Wild to reach that mark (65 games), surpassing Marian Gaborik's 93-game clip. Kaprizov, who also had an assist, leads the Wild in points with 10.
But two goals by Kasperi Kapanen in 2:31 sent the Wild into the intermission in a hole. Jake Guentzel widened Pittsburgh's lead on a shot from the slot 13:34 into the second.
The Wild inched closer later in the period on a Joel Eriksson Ek deflection at 16:57, but the Penguins reinstated their two-goal cushion with Kapenen's hat trick at 8:45 of the third.
Cue the latest comeback.
With 3:19 to go in the third and Talbot on the bench for an extra attacker, Spurgeon's point shot sailed off the post and behind Jarry before Hartman's game-tying goal – again with Talbot on the bench.
"No one's really pointing fingers," Bjugstad said. "I think that's a huge component to comebacks. I think just the culture overall in the room it's a good vibe."
In the shootout, Bjugstad split a 2-2 stalemate. Frederick Gaudreau missed the Wild's first shot, but Kevin Fiala and Kaprizov capitalized (Kaprizov's first career shootout goal). Talbot made a stop on Kapanen to set up Bjugstad's decisive finish and continue the team's trend of late-game script flips.
The Wild has now scored three goals this season in the final minute of regulation. Its seven one-goal wins are the most in the NHL.
"You can't do that forever," Dumba said. "We got to take control of our games. But to do this early in the season and know what kind of character we have in that room, guys are willing to go the full 60 minutes for each other and not quit or give up on each other.
"That's a feeling we haven't had around here for a long time. We're not gonna take that for granted. It's something special, and we're gonna find our game and start rolling."