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Postgame Hat Trick: Hurricanes 5, Wild 4 (SO)

Zucker, Staal with multi-point nights, Stalock with 38 saves in loss at Carolina

by Dan Myers @1DanMyers / Wild.com

Wild.com's Dan Myers gives three takeaways from the Wild's 5-4 shootout loss against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina on Saturday night:

1. Minnesota was able to get a point, its first of the season, by scoring the tying goal with 0.1 seconds remaining on the clock in the third period.

Carolina scored three consecutive goals, erasing a two-goal deficit in the second period, including a goal by Victor Rask with 94 seconds left in regulation. 

But the Wild pulled goaltender Alex Stalock for the extra attacker, and off a faceoff with seven seconds remaining, Mikko Koivu jammed away at a loose puck around the net that somehow got through a mass of bodies and across the goal line at the last possible instant.

Video: MIN@CAR: Koivu evens game with last second goal

"I've seen an awful lot of buzzer beaters. Not with 0.1," said Wild coach Bruce Boudreau.

There were a couple of things referees needed to establish before the game went to overtime. First, they needed to determine if the goal was scored in time. After deciding that it was, whether there was goaltender interference was the final question ... and after Minnesota's luck in that department on Thursday in Detroit, nobody knew what to expect.

Sure enough, the official left the penalty box area and signaled that the goal was good, much to the chagrin of the sold-out crowd in attendance. 

A shootout followed a scoreless overtime and Carolina defenseman Jaccob Slavin was the only player from either team to finesse a goal in the skills competition, earning the home club a deserving bonus point.

Afterward, Boudreau was critical of his club's defensive structure, one that allowed the Hurricanes to fire 42 shots on Stalock.

"We were way too loose," Boudreau said. "We aren't going to win a lot of games if we play like that and allow 40 shots on goal a game and have our goalie have to make 10 10-bell saves. It's not the right way to play. It's not the way we practice. It's too loosey-goosey." 

2. Eric Staal scored a breakaway goal in the second period that seemingly gave the Wild an insurmountable lead.

With the way Stalock was playing behind the group and the fact Minnesota had just killed an extended 5-on-3 power play without allowing a single shot, Staal's goal put Minnesota up 3-1 late in the second and in the driver's seat for two points.

Video: MIN@CAR: Staal buries wrister on breakaway

"At that point it feels like, 'OK, we're pretty good.' That's the point where you sit there and say, 'OK, we've got three goals on the road, we've got a two goal lead. Let's make sure they don't get anything,'" Boudreau said. "But we kept going for goals and when we do that we're going to be trouble."

Carolina scored on the power play before the second period expired and evened the game early in the third period before grabbing a brief lead in the final two minutes. 

"We were going for goals. We talked before the game, the whole game was built upon us playing solid defense because I thought four goals was too much against us in Detroit," Boudreau said. "We were going for breakaways, trying for long bomb passes, not coming back, not doing the right things in our zone. If we're going to do that we're going to get beat all the time." 
 
Staal's goal was the first of his career against Carolina, the team he played 12 seasons for, accumulating 775 points in 909 games. The brand new Vegas Golden Knights are now the only NHL team Staal hasn't scored against, but he won't play against them until next month.

3. Honoring his friend Nick Rabone and his hometown of Las Vegas, Jason Zucker had a heckuva night, scoring the game's first goal then dishing out the primary assist on Staal's breakaway goal.

Rabone, a victim of last weekend's shooting that left 58 dead and nearly 500 injured at a country music concert along the Las Vegas Strip, was on Zucker's mind -- and his wrist tape -- as he wrote #RaboneStrong and #VegasStrong on the tape he wore under his glove. Rabone is in the ICU in a Las Vegas hospital and is expected to make a full, but slow, recovery.

Tweet from @mnwild: #VegasStrong pic.twitter.com/NaWXKZasHW 

Six and a half minutes into the game, Zucker scored a power-play goal on a pretty feed from Matt Dumba, giving the Wild a 1-0 lead.  

Video: MIN@CAR: Zucker taps in Dumba's perfect pass for PPG

"Yeah, I was thinking about Nick and everybody else in Vegas," Zucker said. "But for me, ultimately, it was great for the team. That's what matters most."

BONUS TAKE: Two games into the season, and each Wild goaltender already has a save-of-the-year candidate. Check out this dandy from Stalock in the second period:

Video: MIN@CAR: Stalock extends glove for terrific save

"He was down and out, too, so was I," Stalock said. "He was kind of on his knees, and all he had was to kind of swing it to the net like he did. Just got lucky, man, put it in my glove. Thank God."


Loose Pucks

• Playing in his 600th NHL game, Chris Stewart scored a beauty of a breakaway goal, potting a goal for the second consecutive game.

Video: MIN@CAR: Stewart races in to finish breakaway

Marcus Foligno assisted on Stewart's goal, giving him a helper in each game so far.

• Stalock was fantastic, finishing with 38 saves.

• Staal finished with a goal and an assist, his first points of the season.

• Hurricanes forwards Sebastian Aho and Elias Lindholm each had a pair of assists.

• Carolina goaltender Scott Darling, making his debut with the club, made 23 saves.

• Wild forward Mikael Granlund did not play because of a groin injury.

• Attendance: 18,680


He Said It

"We have to tighten things, especially when we have the lead. We can't stop playing. We have to play the right way, though. I think we'll look at some things on video. We can't let them come back like that." -- Wild forward Charlie Coyle


Dan's Three Stars

* Victor Rask

** Jason Zucker 

*** Alex Stalock

Video: MIN Recap: Wild force OT, fall in Hurricanes in SO

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