Wild keeps coming back, stuns Blues in a shootout
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Anyone who counted the Minnesota Wild out of the playoff race at midseason is reconsidering that thought these days. And anyone who counted the Wild out of Friday night's game in St. Louis when the Blues took leads twice in the first period and twice in the third period is re-thinking that tonight as well.
In a dramatic turn of events, the Wild didn't lead for any of regulation or overtime, but got a game-tying goal from Martin Havlat in the final minute of the third period, and a game-winner from John Madden in the ninth round of the shootout to win 5-4.
It was a rare win for the Wild inside the home of the Blues. The team had lost four in a row there, and that trend looked to continue when former Minnesota State, Mankato star David Backes scored twice for the Blues to give them a pair of leads. But his effort was matched by Cal Clutterbuck, who notched his first two-goal game of the season.
Still, it looked like none of it would matter and the Wild would lose two very valuable points in the Western Conference standings with less than 90 seconds to play and Wild goalie Jose Theodore on the bench in favor of a sixth skater. With the arena's announcer still announcing that there was one minute remaining in regulation, Havlat did exactly what a goal scorer is supposed to do in that situation. He tipped a feed from Mikko Koivu past Blues goalie Jaroslav Halak to force overtime.
"I was impressed with the way we came back every single time," Wild coach Todd Richards told the Associated Press after the game. "This isn't an easy place to play. I liked the way we played, I like the way we competed."
Of course, few road arenas have been tough places to play for the Wild lately. The win improved the team to 16-9-3 away from St. Paul.
Theodore had 31 saves, and will get some rest on Saturday, while the other players from both teams will spring right back into action. The Wild and Blues complete the home-and-home series on Saturday night in St. Paul, with the Wild looking to stay hot an improve on the 8-2-0 mark it has put up in the past 10 games.