Bjugstad helps Wild complete comeback vs. Pens in shootout
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Minnesota Wild forward Nick Bjugstad capped a frenzied five-minute rally against his former team on Saturday night, scoring the deciding goal in a shootout that came after the Minnesota Wild erased a two-goal deficit in the final five minutes of regulation to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-4.
Bjugstad, who had 16 points in 45 games during parts of two seasons with Pittsburgh, beat Tristan Jarry with a wrist shot in the shootout.
“I hadn’t been on the ice in a little bit, so you don’t like to overhandle it,” Bjugstad said. “I saw an opening there. Thankfully, it went in.”
It was the sixth game-deciding shootout goal for Bjugstad, whom the Penguins traded to Minnesota in September 2020. Kirill Kaprizov and Kevin Fiala also scored in the shootout for the Wild, who won for the third time in five games.
“Enjoyed my time (in Pittsburgh), but definitely coming into this rink and getting the win the way we did … up to the last second, fighting back … it’s a fun one,” Bjugstad said.
The Wild pulled Cam Talbot and got a goal from Jared Spurgeon — his second of the game — with about 3:20 left in the third period. Ryan Hartman tied the game with 1.1 seconds to play in regulation after a net-mouth scramble. Kaprizov also scored in regulation and Talbot made 35 saves.
“I was just looking at the net,” Hartman said of the tying goal. “(And wanted to) hit something.”
Pittsburgh’s Kasperi Kapanen scored his first career hat trick in regulation, but he was stopped in the shootout. Kapanen, who netted 11 goals with Pittsburgh last season, hadn’t scored in the team’s first nine games.
Jake Guentzel scored his third goal and Jarry made 36 saves, but Pittsburgh lost for the fourth time in five games.
“It’s a huge, huge game for (Kapanen), tonight,” said assistant coach Todd Reirden, who filled in for coach Mike Sullivan (out with COVID-19). “Unfortunately, for us to score four goals and not leave with a win is disappointing.”
Kaprizov, the reigning Calder Trophy winner, opened the scoring at 9:44 of the first period. It was his second goal in as many games following an eight-game drought to start the season. He also recorded his 60th career point in his 65th game, the quickest among players to debut with the Wild.
Kapanen’s first two goals of the season, scored 2:31 apart, gave Pittsburgh a 2-1 lead at the end of the first.
Guentzel’s wrist shot over Talbot’s glove added to Pittsburgh’s lead with about six and a half minutes left in the second period.
Spurgeon made it a 3-2 game with three minutes left in the second with a deft deflection on Jonas Brodin’s point shot. Marcus Foligno extended his point streak to four games with a secondary assist.
Zucker faced his former team for the first time since he was traded to Pittsburgh in February 2020. He finished with two assists.
Zucker scored 132 goals and 243 points in 456 games with the Wild from 2012-2020. Zucker was selected by Minnesota in the second round of the 2010 NHL Draft and still ranks fourth in Wild franchise history in goals, fifth in game-winning goals and ninth in scoring.
Goligoski was drafted by Pittsburgh in the second round of the 2004 NHL Draft. Goligoski, who assisted on Minnesota’s first goal, had 23 goals and 90 points in 177 games with Pittsburgh from 2007-2011. He returned to the lineup for Minnesota after missing three games with an upper-body injury.
And Minnesota’s Frederick Gaudreau, who had 10 points in 19 games with Pittsburgh during the 2020-21 season, also finished with two assists on Saturday.
Penguins F Bryan Rust played for the first time since sustaining a lower-body injury Oct. 14 in the second game of the season. Rust played right wing on Pittsburgh’s top line with Guentzel and Jeff Carter. He recorded two primary assists. Rust was third on the team last season with 22 goals.
“Physically, I felt alright,” Rust said. “I felt better as the game went on. Definitely, the game comes at you faster when you haven’t played in awhile.”
Reirden served as Pittsburgh’s acting head coach for the second straight game after Mike Sullivan was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Thursday.
Penguins captain Sidney Crosby didn’t play for the ninth time in 10 games. Crosby missed the team’s first seven games after undergoing wrist surgery on Sept. 8. He went into the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol on Wednesday following a confirmed positive test. Pittsburgh defensemen Brian Dumoulin, Marcus Pettersson and Chad Ruhwedel are also in the COVID-19 protocol.
Minnesota’s Mats Zuccarello and Rem Pitlick have been on the COVID-19 list for the last week, but could be available Sunday when the Wild host the New York Islanders. Zuccarello missed the last four games, while Pitlick made his season debut before he was placed in the protocol.
Wild: Return home to face the New York Islanders on Sunday night.
Penguins: Visit Chicago on Tuesday night.
Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.