Wild snatch victory from near-certain defeat in Edmonton
EDMONTON, Alberta -- The Wild came up with one of the most dramatic wins of the season Thursday night at Rexall Place. Unable to score through 59 minutes, 58.8 seconds, Minnesota somehow defeated the Edmonton Oilers 2-1 in a shootout. Dany Heatle...
EDMONTON, Alberta -- The Wild came up with one of the most dramatic wins of the season Thursday night at Rexall Place.
Unable to score through 59 minutes, 58.8 seconds, Minnesota somehow defeated the Edmonton Oilers 2-1 in a shootout.
Dany Heatley scored the tying goal with 1.2 seconds left in regulation to force overtime after coach Mike Yeo pulled goaltender Niklas Backstrom for an extra attacker.
"To snatch two points from the jaws of defeat there, it was a pretty good feeling," Yeo said.
The Wild did it short-handed, too; they were without center Mikko Koivu and defenseman Greg Zanon for much of the third period -- Koivu because of a big cut in his chin when he was hit by Heatley's skate blade and Zanon because of a groin injury.
"That, to me, is something that's going to be very important with our group," Yeo said. "When we're faced with adversity, when we're faced with a challenge, then we welcome that. We look forward to those opportunities, and we rise to the occasion."
They did on this occasion, although the full house at Rexall Place was expecting something different.
The Oilers were clinging to their 1-0 lead into the final seconds before Yeo inserted a sixth skater. The puck popped free to Heatley to the right of the Oilers' net, and Heatley beat Nikolai Khabibulin to tie it up.
Yeo said it was no surprise that Heatley, booed all night by Oilers fans who remembered he vetoed a trade from Ottawa to Edmonton three years ago, came
"It was like he was refusing to lose," the coach said.
Heatley shrugged if off, saying he felt confident.
"We really took over the game in the second and third," he said. "I really felt it was just a matter of time before we tied it up."
Koivu, who was still in the Wild dressing room after the game with a nasty-looking gouge in the lower part of his chin, might be ready to go Saturday when the Wild play in Vancouver, Yeo said.
Heatley was more optimistic.
"He's tough," Heatley said. "He'll be all right."
The game went through a scoreless overtime, and in the shootout Backstrom was unyielding in the Minnesota net while Matt Cullen scored on the Wild's first chance to give them the win.
Cullen said it could have been over much sooner except for Khabibulin, who like Backstrom made 30 saves.
"We stuck with it," Cullen said.
Even though the Wild were stuck on zero for more than 59 minutes, Cullen added, they kept applying pressure.
"It's easy to get frustrated, it's easy to get down when pucks aren't going in," he said, "but we've got to be smart enough to know that while we're getting scoring chances, we're creating opportunities. If we're going to become a good team it's good to see we can play like that for 60 minutes. The fact that we can do it is a positive."
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.