The refuse-to-lose Minnesota Wild will take their comeback act a few miles south Monday when they play the first of two consecutive games on the road against the Anaheim Ducks.
The Wild opened their season at Los Angeles and delivered a pair of 4-3 overtime victories by refusing to quit when their chances looked bleak.
The Wild scored two goals in the third period of Thursday’s season opener against the Kings, with Kirill Kaprizov scoring the game winner with 1:13 remaining in overtime of his NHL debut for his first career goal.
On Saturday, the Wild pushed their limits even further, sending the game into overtime with another pair of third-period goals, the second of which came from Matt Dumba with 1.4 seconds remaining. Keeping with the last-second theme, Marcus Johansson scored the game winner with 10.6 seconds remaining in the extra period.
“It’s unbelievable to see that we can turn games around like this,” Johansson said. “Obviously, we don’t want to do that every night, but it shows the strength we have in this group and they believe in what we’re doing.”
Ryan Suter had two assists – both on Dumba’s goals – to reach 500 assists in his career and 300 with the Wild.
The 23-year-old Kaprizov, from Russia, not only had the game-winning goal Thursday, he also had two assists in the opener. With an assist Saturday on Johansson’s game-winning score, he has four points over his first two games.
The Wild will be playing the third game of their four-game road trip to start the season, they but are making the best of it with dramatic victories and 80-degree temperatures in the Los Angeles area.
Now comes a visit to Anaheim where Minnesota has won three consecutive games going back to November of 2018.
The Ducks have not won in two tries this season, but they took the Las Vegas Golden Knights to overtime on the road Saturday in a 2-1 defeat. The Ducks lost the opener to the Golden Knights 5-2 on Thursday.
Poised to have their 1-0 lead hold up Saturday, Las Vegas’ William Karlsson scored with 1:22 remaining to tie it and send the game into overtime. Max Pacioretty won it for the Golden Knights a mere seven seconds into the extra period.
The defeat spoiled a strong night from goaltender John Gibson, who had 31 saves before the effort came crashing down all around him and the team.
Now the Ducks must regroup to face another team well versed in the same type of late rally.
“(Gibson) was the reason we were in the game, for sure,” Ducks center Sam Steel said. “We left him out to dry a few too many times. He’s going to make big saves, which he did, and they ended up getting (the tying goal) late, but none of the blame is on him. He kept us in there for the whole game.”
Max Comtois scored Anaheim’s lone goal Saturday after scoring both goals in the season opener. It is the first time a single Ducks player scored the first three goals for the team to start a season and only the 15th time it has happened in NHL history.
–Field Level Media