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Postgame Hat Trick: Ducks 3, Wild 2 (SO)

Minnesota battles back after sluggish start to earn one point Tuesday night against Anaheim

by Dan Myers @mnwildscribe / Wild.com

Wild.com's Dan Myers gives three takeaways from the Wild's 3-2 shootout loss against the Anaheim Ducks at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul on Tuesday night:

1. Mikko Koivu was honored for playing in his 1,000th NHL game. 

The coolest part of the night was definitely when former teammates Niklas Backstrom, Kyle Brodziak, Marian Gaborik and Nick Schultz surprised the Wild captain by appearing during his pre-game ceremony. 

The four former players are some of Koivu's best friends and he had no idea they were in attendance. Gaborik, for example, flew 10 hours from his home in Slovakia to Chicago, had a layover, then arrived in the Twin Cities on Monday night, then camped out in his hotel room.

The group was shuffled around the team's campus today to do several different media appearances, but it was the job of Andrew Heydt, the Wild's Director of Team Operations and Player Relations, to keep everything organized and to keep the former players from crossing paths at any point with Koivu, who did not play in the game Tuesday because of a lower-body injury. 

Video: ANA@MIN: Koivu honored for 1,000th career NHL game

Koivu was joined on the ice by his family, club owner Craig Leipold and General Manager Bill Guerin, who gave him the traditional gifts of the 1,000-game crystal and silver stick. Leipold and the Wild Foundation donated $5,000 to Children's Minnesota, Koivu's preferred charity that he has worked with over his time in Minnesota. 

More than a dozen former teammates and coaches provided their thoughts via video message, as did his older brother, Saku. But it was the presence of his former teammates that clearly hit home the most for Koivu, who couldn't stop smiling. 


2. The game marked the NHL debut of defenseman and Woodbury native Brennan Menell.

It was also a special night for the nearly two dozen members of the Menell family that were in attendance. An east-side kid who grew up watching and cheering for the Wild, Menell's long journey to the NHL was finally realized on Tuesday when he skated in his first NHL game. 

Tweet from @mnwildPR: Congrats to defenseman @brennanmenell on making his NHL debut tonight. He���s the 86th player to make his NHL debut with the #mnwild and third this season (@alfano20 and @KaapoKahkonen). Menell is the 28th MN-born player to play for the Wild and sixth to make his NHL debut.

Menell didn't find his way onto the scoresheet, but did earn a plus on Ryan Hartman's second-period goal and on Ryan Donato's third-period tally. It was Menell's gutsy blocked shot at the other end of the rink just moments before Hartman's goal that started the Wild's rush the other way.

Tweet from @mnwild: A solo lap for @brennanmenell. Here we go!#mnwild pic.twitter.com/ap4D8wuDa5


3. There was a game, too.

For the first 30 minutes or so, it was one the Wild likely wanted to forget.

Minnesota had just one shot on goal in the first period as Anaheim built a 2-0 lead on goals by Rickard Rakell and Cam Fowler. 

But the Wild stuck to its game plan and slowly started to build momentum. 

Hartman's goal at 7:59 of the second got things started as the Wild built momentum into the second intermission. Then in the third, Donato tied things up with his fifth goal of the season and fourth in his past seven games. 

Video: ANA@MIN: Donato scores tying goal in 3rd

The two teams went to OT, where the only whistle was for a penalty on Anaheim. In the shootout, Kaapo Kahkonen's first in the NHL, Rakell and Max Comtois scored while Zach Parise and Kevin Fiala did not, earning the Ducks the bonus point. Kahkonen finished his first career home start with 31 saves. 

The Wild came from behind to get a point without the services of Eric Staal, who left the game in the first period after colliding with a linesman at the offensive blueline. He remained on the ice for several moments before slowly making his way to the bench and down the tunnel. 

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