Wild never stops challenging, stuns Jets 6-5 in OT to win home opener
4 min read
The Wild rallied from four deficits and successfully challenged an apparent empty-net goal. Then, Joel Eriksson Ek scored with 59 seconds left to force overtime and added the game-winner for a hat trick.
The Wild's season started days ago, but this felt like the official coronation. Back-and-forth action against a long-standing rival in front of a sellout crowd. Welcome back to the old NHL, where the Wild is currently leading the resurgence. After shedding four deficits, including the final one in the last minute of regulation, the Wild finally overcame the Jets 6-5 in overtime on Tuesday to stay undefeated in its home opener in front of an announced crowd of 18,156 — the largest to witness a Wild game at Xcel Energy Center since before the COVID-19 pandemic. This is the first time the Wild has debuted 3-0 since 2015. "That's the way a hockey game should be, especially with the fans back," winger Mats Zuccarello said. "It was unbelievable." Joel Eriksson Ek polished off his first career hat trick 3 minutes, 30 seconds into overtime after the center tied the score at 5 by whacking in a puck with 59 seconds to go in the third period. Before that, Winnipeg had a sixth goal reversed — an empty-netter by Mark Scheifele with 1:14 to go — after the Wild successfully challenged for offsides, a signal that came from the team's video coaches, Jonas Plumb and TJ Jindra, from their headquarters in the bowels of the arena. "Neither one of them will take any credit if you talk to them, but it was a great call," coach Dean Evason said. "They were ready to drop the puck, too, and when they called down to [assistant coach Brett McLean], Mac was just screaming for the refs to get their attention. So, great call." That turned the score back to 5-4, setting up Eriksson Ek's swipe at the puck with his back to the net. He was facing his target on the next goal, as the Wild broke out for a 3-on-1 rush during an overtime power play and Eriksson Ek buried a Kirill Kaprizov…