The Minnesota Wild
aren't known for their ability to play catch-up hockey. But on Friday, they not only caught the St. Louis Blues
four times in regulation, they did it again in the shootout -- and then won the game.
Minnesota made up four one-goal deficits and two more in the shootout before John Madden scored in the ninth round of the tiebreaker for a 5-4 victory on Friday night.
Minnesota twice answered St. Louis goals with tallies of its own less than a minute later. Goalie Jose Theodore stopped five St. Louis shooters who could have ended it in the shootout.
"I was impressed with the way we came back every single time," coach Todd Richards said. "This isn't an easy place to play. I liked the way we played, I like the way we competed."
Martin Havlat forced overtime with 57.6 seconds to go, jamming the puck past Jaroslav Halak from the side of the net. Andrew Brunette had a goal and assisted on the tying goal that came after sustained pressure only 4 seconds after the Blues killed a penalty for too many men on the ice.
"They said four guys jumped on and two guys were still coming off and we played the puck," forward David Backes said. "That's the time of game we need to be on our toes, doing the job.
"We can't get that point back ever, and it stings the way it happened."
Cal Clutterbuck scored twice for the Wild. Backes had two goals and Andy McDonald added a goal and an assist for the Blues, who remained seven points out of a playoff berth in the West. The teams meet again Saturday in St. Paul.
"There's no time to dwell and sulk and lick our wounds," Backes said. "It's time to regroup and come out flying tomorrow."
Minnesota is 8-2-0 in its last 10 games, but had allowed only 13 goals in the previous nine. The Wild moved within a point of eighth-place Calgary and have three games in hand on the Flames.
Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Mikko Koivu and Brent Burns also scored in the shootout, while T.J. Oshie, Brad Boyes and Alex Steen scored for the Blues.
Madden beat Halak on a backhander in Round 9.
"I really didn't want to deke because the ice conditions were so bad," Madden said. "I saw the puck roll on several guys on both teams. But you go with what you've got."
Theodore made must saves on McDonald, Matt D'Agostini, Backes, Erik Johnson and Patrik Berglund in the shootout before foiling Vladimir Sobotka to clinch it.
"Three shots, they had two goals," Theodore said. "Then after that, I adjusted a few things, my timing and everything. After that, I felt pretty solid."
Backes leads St. Louis with a career-best 20 goals, four of them in the last three games. The Blues' top line of Backes, McDonald and Boyes has 13 points in the last four games.
Clutterbuck leads the Wild with 16 goals, the second coming to tie it at 3 after Halak flubbed a clearing attempt behind the net at 41 seconds of the third period. It came only 22 seconds after Backes scored on a 2-on-1 break.
Material from team media and wire services was used in this report