It was a 3-1 game early in the second period. The Minnesota Wild were down and had already taken a couple penalties, a trend they’ve set recently.
Things weren’t going well for a team that had just lost two games in a row when their forwards scored zero goals.
Then somebody hit the scoring-juice button. Cue the Oprah.gif.
The Wild (18-13-3) scored five straight goals to come back from a two-goal deficit and beat the Ottawa Senators (11-12-7) by a 6-4 score. They tied up the game 3-3 by the end of the second, then pumped in a couple quick goals early in the third for a 5-3 margin. Matt Dumba had scored the team’s last three goals coming into the game, but Tuesday five different goal scorers emerged along with 10 players who had points.
“I was happy that some guys that hadn’t been having too much luck finally scored goals,” said head coach Bruce Boudreau.
Wild points leader Eric Staal bookended the scoring for the Wild for his 13th and 14th tallies of the season. He also assisted on a Jonas Brodin goal to give him a three-point night.
Staal leads the team with 14 goals, 17 assists and 31 points.
It marked the fourth time season the Wild scored a season-high six goals and first since their 6-4 victory over Nashville on Nov. 16. They also put a season-high 40 shots on goal.
Let’s get this out of the way though: Mikko Koivu scored a goal. Yes, the captain finally got on the board -- after a 24-game drought (since Oct. 28) and 11 games without a point -- and it came just like fans would expect: On a deflection.
“Mikko’s goal, you could see the air coming out of a balloon,” Boudreau said. “I’m hoping this is a jumpstart for him.”
Koivu put his stick out in the air as Ryan Suter’s slap shot from the middle at the blue line came toward him. Koivu got just enough of the puck to send it into the net for a 3-3 game with 55 seconds left in the second period.
“All you can do is try to create to get out of it… obviously, it felt good,” Koivu said.
It was part of a comeback after the Wild got down 3-1 at the 5:44 mark of the second period. Alex Stalock also kept it just a two-goal deficit with a tremendous save on a Bobby Ryan shot.
Then Chris Stewart scored his eighth of the season after some good shift work and offensive pressure by his line with Nate Prosser and Joel Eriksson Ek. Stewart found his way to the front of the net to accept a backhand feed from Eriksson Ek behind the goal line to get within a goal of the Senators.
Prosser, the Elk River native, had a two-point night with his first goal of the season and an assist on Stewart’s goal. The defenseman came into the night with just one assist in nine games. He put the Wild ahead for good 1:48 into the third period with an unassisted goal on his laser shot from the blue line that snaked its way into the net.
“It’s nice to see us get some goals,” Prosser said.
Brodin’s goal came just a few minutes later when he cashed in on his own rebound with a sharp-angle shot to make it 5-3.
Staal’s second of the night came on the power play with 3:21 left in the game to put them up 6-3. Charlie Coyle’s shot bounced off Nino Niederreiter, then Staal jumped in to bury the rebound. The power-play tally was the first for the Wild in five games and broke a 0 for 12 streak. The Wild finished 1 for 4 on the power play and are still just 2 for 25 over the past 11 games.
Early on, it was the Erik Karlsson show for the Senators. He put his team up 1-0 just 2:08 into the game and made it 2-1 with a power-play goal just 1:08 into the second period. Karlsson now has five goals and 18 points in 11 career games against the Wild.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Derick Brassard were the other goal scorers for the Senators.
Suter finished the game with a pair of assists. He has six assists in his last six games. Coyle had two assists in the game, and Eriksson Ek, who was close to scoring a goal, tallied an assist as well.
Stalock (6-5-1) with 28 saves. Craig Anderson (9-11-3) with 34 saves.
The Wild’s perfect 19 for 19 penalty kill was squashed as Ottawa went 2 for 4 with the man advantage, scoring early in the second and near the end of the game when their fourth game came with the man advantage and the goaltender pulled. “We only took four (penalties) tonight,” Boudreau deadpanned. “It was like a real bonus for us.”
The Wild have points in seven of their last 10 games against the Senators.
Dumba missed a chance to score in his third straight game when he hit the post with a long shot at an empty net in the closing minutes.
The Senators unsuccessfully challenged Brodin’s goal for goaltender interference.
The wild registered 18 blocked shots.
The road trip takes the Wild to Florida to visit the Panthers on Friday night.