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Deflected goal gives Jets win against Wild, Curry

by Dan Myers

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Minnesota Wild might want to think about investing in new stanchions behind the nets at Xcel Energy Center.

The same piece of glass that ended Minnesota's season in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in May struck again Saturday against the Winnipeg Jets.

Andrew Ladd was credited with the game-winning goal at 2:47 of overtime, giving the Jets a 4-3 win. But again it was the stanchion that provided the critical bounce.

Ladd's shot from the slot missed, but the puck caromed off the back glass, off the top of the net and rolled down goaltender John Curry's back into the net for the winner.

"That was one of the better bounces I've ever seen someone get," Jets forward Bryan Little said. "I mean, off the glass, off the net, off his head ... I've never seen anything like that before."

Jets coach Paul Maurice said, "It was deserving. He took a real nasty high-stick and was bleeding real hard on the bench. He wouldn't come off the bench and he scores the overtime winner. He was bleeding there pretty good, and I wasn't sure we were going to be able to keep him on the bench and he wouldn't come off. That's what I like about this team."

In Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinal against the Chicago Blackhawks last season, Patrick Kane fired a puck off the same stanchion. It deflected right back to Kane in front, where he scored into an open net for the series-clinching goal.

"Not surprised by anything," Wild forward Zach Parise said. "We have to snap out of this. That's a team we're chasing and we need to win these games."

Minnesota (16-13-4) has lost five in a row and six of its past seven. Curry started for Minnesota after Darcy Kuemper fell ill before the start of warm-ups. Curry made 19 saves in his 2014-15 season debut.

"I think we could have hit the net better," Wild coach Mike Yeo said. "For a team that needs results, it's easy to sit here and try to paint positive pictures, but what we need to do is build our game, and this was a step in the right direction."

The Wild took a 1-0 lead on a first-period goal by Mikael Granlund, capping a give-and-go with Jason Pominville. The latter passed entering the zone to Granlund heading to the slot, where he snuck the puck under goalie Michael Hutchinson at 16:03.

Winnipeg (19-10-7) tied the game 7:17 into the second period on an off-speed backhand by Little that slipped through Curry's five-hole.

"You just try and throw pucks at [Curry], see if he has weaknesses," Little said. "It's dangerous sometimes. A guy could be playing his best hockey, he's nervous, he's excited. You might look at the scouting report a little bit, but that's not going to change how you approach the game."

The Jets took a 2-1 lead early in the third period after Curry left a rebound. Adam Lowry, battling in front, poked at the loose puck at 1:52.

Pominville scored from the top of the right circle at 10:38 to tie the game 2-2.

After a holding penalty on Ladd, Blake Wheeler scored shorthanded, ending a 2-on-1 rush with a tip-in at the top of the crease at 12:09.

Less than a minute later, Thomas Vanek tipped a point shot by Jared Spurgeon, tying the game at 3-3 at 12:41.

Hutchinson finished with 22 saves and is 9-2-2.

"The goalie played good, and I don't think it was easy for either guy because there was some strange stuff going on," Maurice said.

Minnesota got more bad news following the game when Yeo said Granlund and defenseman Jonas Brodin are out indefinitely after each sustained an upper-body injury being checked into the boards during the third period. Granlund returned to the game shortly after the injury occurred and assisted on Pominville's goal. Brodin left the game and did not return.

"It's adversity. We'll have to battle through it and find a way," Pominville said.

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