Kevin Fiala collected the puck and raced into the offensive zone with a full head of steam. He sauced a pass over to Mats Zuccarello and he immediately snapped a pass back to Fiala with an open net in front of him.
The next few seconds were a blur as Fiala unloaded a heavy slap shot to lift the Wild to a dramatic 4-3 overtime win over the St. Louis Blues. He was immediately mobbed by Matt Dumba, then Zuccarello, then the rest of his teammates as the Wild celebrate their first win since clinching a playoff berth a week ago.
It was an impressive response from the Wild after dropping both games of a back-to-back earlier this week. They played with a sense of desperation on Saturday night at Xcel Energy Center and they were rewarded for it down the stretch.
The final score didn’t look possible with the way the Wild started the game. After a sleepy start to the first period, Jordan Kyrou unloaded a slap shot to make it 1-0 in favor of the Blues. A couple of minutes later, Sammy Blais stretched the lead to 2-0 after the Wild coughed the puck up in their own zone.
That paved the way for the second period where Zuccarello helped the Wild cut the deficit to 2-1 with a blast to beat Jordan Binnington. Kirill Kaprizov assisted on the play and now has 43 points to lead all rookies.
Unfortunately for the Wild, the Blues responded later in the second period with a strong play by David Perron in front. After an initial shot from Niko Mikkola, nobody on the Wild bothered to box out Perron and he made the pay with a goal to make it 3-1.
That score held into the third period, and while the Wild continued their sloppy play for a prolonged stretch, Nico Sturm got them back into it with a tremendous individual effort. He somehow managed to redirect a shot from Jonas Brodin and the puck found the back of the net to cut the deficit to 3-2.
That lit a fire under the Wild and they controlled the game the rest of the way. It culminated with a seeing-eye shot from Brodin in the final minute to tie the game at 3-3 and force overtime.
That set the stage for overtime where Fiala played hero with an incredible shot after an equally incredible pass.