Wild score twice in shootout to beat New Jersey 3-2
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Mats Zuccarello and Frederick Gaudreau scored in a shootout and the struggling Minnesota Wild rallied to beat the red-hot New Jersey Devils 3-2 on Saturday night.
Joel Eriksson Ek and Ryan Hartman scored in regulation and Filip Gustavsson stopped 27 shots for the Wild, which ended a three-game slide.
“They are a good team. We know we’re a good team. We’ve been struggling. But that’s a character win,” Hartman said.
Added Gustavsson: “Pressure is good in a way when you can deal with it. It makes you perform even better. And I think we showed up today and, again, like we created our own confidence.”
Tomas Tatar had a pair of goals for the Devils, whose three-game winning streak ended, but New Jersey is 10-1-2 in its last 13 games. Vitek Vanecek had 22 saves.
Starting a four-game trip, the Devils are still a league-best 19-3-3 on the road.
“Every point is big, and we know it. Unfortunately, too bad we couldn’t grab two, but one, we’ll take it, we want to learn what we did wrong and be better next game,” Tatar said.
Since the start of the 2021-22 season, Minnesota leads the NHL with 24 victories in extra-session games. It is 5-2 in shootouts this season.
Zuccarello scored on the Wild’s first shootout attempt and Tatar missed for the Devils. Minnesota’s Kirill Kaprizov and New Jersey’s Jesper Bratt each missed in the second round before Gaudreau slowly skated in and lifted a shot high glove side.
Down by one entering the third period, a slap shot by Matt Dumba caromed off Hartman’s left elbow and past Vanecek at 5:25. Hartman took a few seconds to gingerly get up before celebrating.
“Especially the way it’s been going lately, it could be easy to just think it’s not going to go our way. That’s not what we did. That’s not how we think. We just believed that if we kept doing the right things our bounces would come and they did,” Gaudreau said.
The Devils led 2-1 after two periods thanks Tatar’s first multigoal game since April 12, 2021, when he played for Montreal. New Jersey entered the game 22-0-1 when leading after two periods.
After an opening period where New Jersey struggled to get a consistent forecheck or offensive zone time, Tatar took a feed from Ondrej Palat and rocketed a shot past Gustavsson early in the second. Just over three minutes later he redirected a blast from Damon Severson.
Tatar had 15 goals and 15 assists and was a minus-22 last season, his first with New Jersey. This year the left wing has 30 points — 12 goals — and is a plus-28.
With 35-goal scorer Jack Hughes out, New Jersey coach Lindy Ruff knows success will come when scoring by committee. “On a night like tonight you got to find ways to put the puck in the back of the net. … But Tatar’s game, he was in on some quality opportunities and took advantage of a couple nice plays and was around the front of the net.”
Badly outplayed in a 4-1 loss in Dallas on Wednesday and a 5-1 home loss to Vegas on Thursday, the Wild came out with a strong effort and a quick lead when Eriksson Ek redirected a wrist shot by Calen Addison for a power-play marker almost six minutes in.
SUCCESS FROM THE BLUE LINE
New Jersey defenseman Dougie Hamilton had an assist to extend his point streak to seven games. He has five goals and nine assists during in the span. His 37 assists for the season match a career-high set in 2016-17 with Calgary.
Addison’s assist gave him 23 for the season, and it was his 18th power-play point. Both are tops among NHL rookie defensemen.
Devils: At Columbus on Tuesday night.
Wild: Host Florida on Monday night.
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