Gaborik scored on the final attempt in a shootout and Harding made 26 saves in relief, lifting the Minnesota Wild to a 6-5 win over Detroit on Thursday night.
"If he wouldn't have made the saves that he did, I know there's no way," said Wild coach Jacques Lemaire, who benched Niklas Backstrom after he gave up four goals in 1 1/2 periods.
The Red Wings appeared to have the game in hand with 1:08 left in regulation, when they went ahead for the first time on Dan Cleary's goal.
But less than 20 seconds later, Eric Belanger grabbed a fluttering puck and lifted it past Chris Osgood to force overtime.
"We had the lead in the final minute and 99.9 percent of the time, we close out the game," Cleary said
In the shootout, Brian Rolston and Gaborik scored while Jiri Hudler was the only Red Wing to get a shot past Harding.
Osgood had a rough night, giving up a goal on the first shot he faced and allowing a season-high five goals shortly after he was named an All-Star and one day following the announcement of his three-year contract.
"Things had been going so well for me and the team," said Osgood, who had 23 saves. "I've had some lucky breaks and so have we, but this was the first time all year that the puck was ricocheting around and going in our net."
Backstrom was pulled after giving up four goals on 19 shots, including Niklas Kronwall's tying goal at 8:38 of the second period.
Zetterberg, Valtteri Filppula, Dallas Drake and Kronwall scored for Detroit, which had won four straight.
|Eric Belanger (right) scores the tying goal in the final minute of regulation. (AP Photo/Jerry S. Mendoza)|
Martin Skoula, Gaborik, Todd Fedoruk and Matt Foy had goals in regulation for the Wild, who were sold earlier in the day to former Nashville Predators owner Craig Leipold.
"It was a busy day, winning a game against this team, which we don't do too often, and getting new owners," Lemaire said. "It's a big day."
The new owner had to like the results of his first game, beating a team that entered the matchup 20-3-2 since mid-November.
Detroit began the day with at least 10 more points than any team in the NHL and were playing a team that had lost two straight on the road.
"Every once in a while you need a reminder in life that you've got to work hard and you've got to work for 60 minutes," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said.
Skoula had a goal 4-plus minutes into the game. Zetterberg then scored for the 27th time, but the Wild had two goals in a 15-second span to go ahead by two goals for the first of two times. Filppula pulled Detroit to 3-2 in the final minute of the opening period.
Foy scored early in the second period, then the Red Wings overcame a two-goal deficit again with Drake's short-handed goal and Kronwall's goal in a 1:06 span.
"We haven't had one of those for ages," Osgood said. "We aren't used to those kind of run-and-gun games. We were down twice, didn't shut it down, kept fighting back. That was a good."
Minnesota beat Detroit for just the seventh time in 27 meetings since entering the league during the 2000-01 season. The Red Wings won the first two meetings this season by a combined score of 9-1.
"We don't win here very often. I don't think any team does," Nick Schultz said. "It's one of the hardest buildings to play in and they are the elite team in the league now."