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

Stewart's goal in fifth round of the shootout wins it for Minnesota

by Dan Myers @1DanMyers / Wild.com

Recap: MIN 3, DAL 2 - F/SO

Dubnyk, Stewart lift Wild to 3-2 shootout victory

Devan Dubnyk made 35 saves and Chris Stewart converted on his attempt in the fifth round of the shootout to lift the Wild past the Stars, 3-2

  • 04:17 •

Wild.com's Dan Myers gives three takeaways from the Wild's 3-2 shootout victory against the Stars at American Airlines Center in Dallas on Tuesday night:

1. Chris Stewart scored the deciding goal in the fifth round of the shootout.

Stewart, who has played primarily on the fourth line this season, is now 2-for-2 in the shootout this season and 9-for-24 in his NHL career.

The winner came after a scoreless third period and a back-and-forth overtime, one in which the Stars (19-20-10) had a 3-on-0 breakaway but were unable to convert.

In the shootout, Patrick Eaves and Jason Pominville each scored in round one. Tyler Seguin and Zach Parise were each stopped in round two, Patrick Sharp and Jason Zucker were turned away in round three.

When Jamie Benn scored through the five hole in round four, it was up to Mikko Koivu to keep Minnesota's hopes alive. Instead of going with his forehand-backhand© maneuver, Koivu rifled a shot past countryman Kari Lehtonen to keep the party going.

"I knew I was saving Mikko because he's got the experience and he wouldn't crack under the pressure," said Wild coach Bruce Boudreau.

In round five, Devan Dubnyk shut down Jason Spezza, setting up Stewart, who fired a backhand shot under the blocker of Lehtonen.

Video: MIN@DAL: Stewart uses quick hands to bury SO winner

"[Stewart] knew he was going," Boudreau said. "I asked him how he was feeling before the [shootout], but I didn't want him to have to go where he had to tie it up, I wanted him to have to go and win it." 

Getting the game to overtime extended Minnesota's road points streak to 13 games, a new franchise record. Earning the victory made celebrating it that much sweeter. The Wild is 11-0-2 during the streak.

2. For the seventh consecutive game, the Wild (31-11-5) or its opponent coughed up a two-goal lead.

It's an incredible stat, really. Sure, it is known as the "worst lead in hockey." But seven straight games in which one team or the team it is playing surrendering a two-goal lead? 

Unfortunately for the Wild, it's often been Minnesota that's been guilty of handing away leads during the streak, a stretch of games that began 10 days ago when it gave up a four-goal lead, only to rebound for the final tally in a 5-4 win.

Minnesota also led by two against the New Jersey Devils last Tuesday, Arizona Coyotes on Thursday and Nashville Predators on Sunday. It won just one of those three games.

The Wild dug out of two-goal holes against the Chicago Blackhawks on Jan. 15 and on Saturday against the Anaheim Ducks, both Minnesota victories.

3. Pominville is shooting the puck with confidence right now. 

Snake-bitten for a good portion of the first half of the season, Pominville would be approaching 20 goals if just half of his posts went into the net. But over the last 10 days or so, the veteran winger is starting to connect.

On Tuesday, he spearheaded a first-period 2-on-1 with Erik Haula and never seemed to entertain passing, instead ripping a shot past Lehtonen for his eighth goal. 

Video: MIN@DAL: Pominville buries laser to finish two-on-one

"I thought this was his best game in a while," Boudreau said. "His minutes were down a little bit the last few games but he was still picking up points. But today, he was pretty solid everywhere."

Pominville is now riding a four-game point streak, his longest since December of last season; he has two goals and four assists during that stretch. Over his past 10 games, Pominville has three goals and seven assists.

He also added a goal in the first round round of the shootout, improving to 3-for-3 there this season. 


Loose Pucks

• Dubnyk was fantastic, finishing with 35 saves.

• Lehtonen stopped 31 shots.

• The victory assured Minnesota will finish the (virtual) first half having lost consecutive games in regulation just once (Nov. 1 and 5). 

• Since Dec 1., Minnesota has earned at least one point in 22 of 25 games and is tied with Washington for most points (42) during that stretch.

• The Wild now has 67 points through 47 games this season. The earliest the Wild had previously reached 67 points was through 57 games (2002-03). 

• Minnesota improved to 5-1-2 in its past eight games in Dallas.


Dan's Three Stars

* Jason Pominville

** Devan Dubnyk

*** Jason Spezza

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