As Minnesota sports fans, we know what losing feels like. Every single team seems to have a unique talent for losing in every fashion possible. The Minnesota Wild are no exception to this rule. We’ve come to expect that with two minutes left in a game and a 4-2 deficit, there’s no chance the Wild can come back and win the game. They don’t have the right players or mentality to mount a comeback of two or more goals. You might as well try to beat the traffic.
However, the Wild have recently told people not to leave games early and not to turn off the TV because something dramatic might happen. For example, last May, the Vegas Golden Knights had a 5-3 lead heading into the third period. Kevin Fiala scored midway through the period, then Kirill Kaprizov scored to tie the game with 1:32 left. Then, to everyone’s surprise, Jonas Brodin scored the game-winning goal with barely a minute to go. The Wild treated fans at the Xcel Energy Center to one hell of a game. Their belief that they can come back from a two-goal deficit has seeped into this season.
This Wild team has made it clear that they are never out of a game, no matter the score. This season, Minnesota has won five games when their opponent has scored first. In a recent game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, they were down 4-2 and could come back and win the game in a shootout. Minnesota has come from behind in seven of their eight wins, the most in the NHL.
Since the start of last season, the Wild have eight goals after pulling the goalie for an extra attacker. That ties them for fourth in the league, according to Natural Stat Trick. It’s not the same guys each time, either. All eight goals have come from different players. The Wild’s ability to find scoring up and down the roster gives them confidence when pulling the goalie. No matter who the coaches put out, they know that the players will step up and score goals. In the win against Pittsburgh, the coaches had enough trust in rookie Adam Beckman to put him on the ice during the last minute of the game. Beckman was able to set up the play and get the second assist on the game-tying goal.
Or what about Ryan Hartman leading the team with six goals? He’s been the Wild’s most clutch player this season. Against the Penguins, he finished off Beckman’s play, scoring the game-tying mark with nearly one second left in the game. Hartman has bounced between center and the wing this season, but coaches had him take the draw with 16 seconds left. He won the faceoff, which ultimately led to his tying goal.
It would be fair to assume that Fiala and Kaprizov would be scoring most of the clutch goals. But guys like Hartman have been surprising game-breakers when everything hangs in the balance.
Of his six goals, he has two game-tying tallies that led to a win, one overtime winning goal, and one game-winning goal that came in the second period. The other two were the only goals the Wild managed during losses to the Seattle Kraken and Colorado Avalanche. With a modest salary, Hartman has shown his worth over the last two seasons. He’s proven to be someone the coaches can rely on, no matter the situation.
Last year, the Wild had seven overtime wins, one shootout win, and another overtime win in the playoffs. This team is proving to be one of the most exciting groups they have ever had. With three overtime wins already this year, along with one shootout win, this team is one that fans everywhere will want to watch. While they’re frustrating at times and offer some rather boring gameplay, Minnesota has shown that they can win against anyone.
So next time you watch a Wild game and they are losing, keep in mind that anything is possible. Remember that Minnesota is constantly surprising fans and dramatically winning games. Dubbed the ‘comeback kids,’ the Wild are treating the fans of Minnesota to some truly entertaining hockey these days.
Everything is clicking for the Wild right now. With how deep the roster is, their success could last throughout the regular season and longer. Every player contributes to their never-say-die attitude and helps out in every area of the game. Having a few studs on the team like Kaprizov and Fiala always helps, too. The new additions to the defense have worked out very well, and it’s always nice to know that prospects are playing in Iowa who will be ready to play whenever needed. Hockey fans in Minnesota should be very excited to have this team playing the way they are.