The Minnesota Wild were down 0-1 26 seconds into the first period. They were down 0-2 a couple minutes later. But two Patrick Sharp goals early couldn’t force an elimination Game 4 for the Dallas Stars, as the Minnesota Wild answered back late in the first and took Game 3, 5-3.
“We were sleeping at the start of the game, and that put us back,” goalie Devan Dubnyk told the Star Tribune. “But whatever it takes to light a fire and get us going, that’s how we’re capable of playing from the start. This is going to give us confidence how to go about things to beat these guys.”
Chris Porter scored with a minute left in the first, and then after interim coach John Torchetti offered some choice words and called players out in the first intermission, the Wild responded by scoring two in the second period.
“He definitely challenged a few guys,” Jason Pominville, who was wearing an “A” in Zach Parise’s absence and scored twice on Monday night, told the Pioneer Press. “And I think overall everyone responded the right way.”
Erik Haula scored six minutes into the second to tie the game; Pominville made it 3-2 with a minute left in the second, and then added an empty-netter to put it away. With Pominville’s first goal, the Wild had their first lead in seven playoff games, ending a 399-minute streak of trailing or being tied dating back to Game 6 of last year’s first round.
Mikko Koivu, the team captain, scored his third goal in the the past 31 playoff games, putting the Wild up 4-2 on the power-play six minutes into the third.
Colton Sceviour netted a fluky goal late, but Pominville’s empty-netter and 19th career playoff goal secured the Wild’s first comeback playoff victory from down two goals down since Game 7 of the 2003 Western Conference semifinals at Vancouver.
“We have to keep upping our game as the games go on,” Torchetti told the Pioneer Press. “We just can’t stay at the same level. You can’t have a ceiling to your game. That’s what it’s all about.”[Star Tribune, Pioneer Press]