For the hockey jersey enthusiasts out there, Tuesday night’s 5-3 win for the Wild over Carolina was a momentous night for you. The Wild wore their red jerseys for the final time, as they will be eliminated next year in the NHL’s switch from Reebok to Adidas.
Next season, the Wild will be reportedly going with a home jersey similar to that of what they wore in last season’s Stadium Series game, but they have no alternates along with the rest of the league (although sounds like alternates will return the following season).
Before we look ahead to what’s next in the Wild jersey history, let’s take a look back at some of the best moments the Wild had in their red jerseys following their debut in October of 2003.
5. Jan. 19, 2013: Parise/Suter make Wild debuts
In the first game back following the 2012-13 lockout that took out half the season, the Wild had a big opener as they got their first look at Zach Parise and Ryan Suter after the pair signed the same 13-year free-agent contracts the summer before. Parise tallied a pair of assists on Dany Heatley goals, while Suter logged only 27:05 of ice time. The game also featured the NHL debut of Mikael Granlund, as he scored his first career goal in the game.
4. Dec. 5, 2006: Pierre-Marc Bouchard Spin-O-Rama
Shootouts deciding who gets the extra point in the game is terrible. But it gets to showcase some skill, and on this night in 2006, Pierre-Marc Bouchard decided to take a page out of the Denis Savard (who was on the Chicago bench) playbook. This would not be the last time Bouchard decided to do the spin-o-rama, but this one was good enough to help the Wild earn that extra point. Also of note, this was Nikolai Khabibulin that Bouchard was schooling here.
3. April 3, 2008: Wild clinch Northwest Division title
If you look into the almost empty rafters of Xcel Energy Center, you’ll notice a couple of banners. One is the No. 1, which was retired prior to the team’s first-ever home game for the fans. The other is a banner signifying the team’s 2007-08 Northwest Division (RIP) title. The Wild were locked into a division title chase with both the Colorado Avalanche and Calgary Flames. On April 3, with two games remaining in the regular season, the Wild hosted Calgary with a chance to clinch the division. A pair of Marian Gaborik goals in the third period sealed the deal as the Wild went on to win 3-1, clinching the title.
2. Jan. 9, 2010: Wild erase 5-1 defecit to defeat Chicago, 6-5
This has been the best comeback in team history, and it’s not even close. The eventual Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks rolled into town for a big Saturday night matchup in St. Paul. Chicago had just bounced the Wild 4-1 four days earlier in the United Center, which gave the Wild a four-game losing streak. The Hawks came out firing, as they scored three goals in the first and two in the second to give them a 5-1 lead at the second intermission. Wild head coach Todd Richards had seen enough of Niklas Backstrom (seven saves on 12 shots) and decided to go with Josh Harding in the third. Minnesota scored three goals in a span of 2:05 early in the third to bring the score to 5-4, but they had problems finding the equalizer. With a minute and a half left, newly-acquired Guillaume Latendresse literally came out of nowhere and blasted a loose puck past Cristobal Huet to tie the game. Overtime did not decide a winner, and there needed to be eight rounds of a shootout before Wild legend Owen Nolan scored the winner to give Minnesota the 6-5 win.
1. Dec. 20, 2007: Marian Gaborik scores five goals
There has never been a goal scorer like Gaborik in Wild history, and on this December night in 2007, Gaborik was unstoppable. With the New York Rangers in town, Gaborik electrified St. Paul, as he rattled off goal after goal against a young Henrik Lundqvist. Gaborik had a hat trick through two periods and registered a fourth in the third. Two minutes after scoring his fourth, Gaborik intercepted a pass in the defensive zone and was off to the races. He beat Lundqvist for his fifth, and there was still half a period to play. With the crowd standing every time Gaborik hit the ice in the last half of the third, the Wild tried to find him a sixth goal, but Lundqvist and substitute goaltender Steve Valiquette would not allow it. Gaborik’s five goals in one game still remains a team record, and will hold for quite some time.