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Postgame Hat Trick: Wild 4, Jets 3

Minnesota overcomes two-goal deficit to earn first win of Bruce Boudreau era

by Dan Myers @1DanMyers /

Dan Myers gives three takeaways from the Wild's 4-3 victory over the Winnipeg Jets in the home opener Saturday at Xcel Energy Center:

1. Chris Stewart , in his second game back with the Wild (1-1-0), had an active second period, securing a Gordie Howe Hat Trick all in the span of about 15 minutes.

First, Stewart scored a goal to get the Wild on the board, hammering a rebound of his own shot off the stick of Jets' forward Nikolaj Ehlers and inches over the goal line before goaltender Michael Hutchinson was able to slap it away with his paddle. The whack came a split second too late, as Minnesota got to within a goal at 2-1.

Less than a minute later, Stewart earned an assist on Matt Dumba 's power-play goal -- a big slapper from the left point -- which tied the game at 2. 

Video: WPG@MIN: Brodin finds a crease, nets insurance goal

Later in the period, Stewart dropped the mitts with Winnipeg's Chris Thorburn, getting in a couple of blows before the two were untangled by officials.

"I got the hard part out of the way first. The fight was the easy part," Stewart said. "That's one of the main reasons I was brought in here. I'm just doing my job."

It was Stewart's first Gordie Howe Hat Trick in six seasons.

"We saw it a couple of years ago when we traded for him," said Wild forward Zach Parise . "We saw that he really brings that element to the team. He played really well for us that year and he's the type of guy you really need in the lineup to bring that physical presence. He does have that ability to make plays, score goals and get to the front of the net. He played a great game, I thought."

2. While we're on the subject of goals, for the second time in a week against the Jets, the Wild scored a bushel of them in one period.

Last Saturday, Minnesota's four-goal third period was the difference in a 5-1 victory to close out the preseason.

This time, the goals counted for real -- three of them in all -- as the Wild rallied from a two-goal deficit after 20 minutes. 

After a relatively even first period, Winnipeg (1-1-0) scored twice in the final 90 seconds of the first, including one with just two seconds left in the period, to take a 2-0 lead into the first intermission.

But Stewart's rebound goal and Dumba's blast got Minnesota even before Eric Staal  gave the Wild its first lead of the young season, finishing off a nice feed by Charlie Coyle .  

"I liked our response in the second and definitely felt the momentum of the building shift," Staal said. "We were really on the attack a lot of the second period and could have been up by a couple more. But good job by the guys staying with it and getting the win."

Brodin gave the Wild a 4-2 lead at 14:08 when he shot from the left half wall got through traffic and past Hutchinson. It ended up being the game-winner when Mark Scheifele scored with 18.7 seconds left. Brodin's goal also atoned for a tough mistake on Winnipeg's initial goal, when he turned the puck over to Nikolaj Ehlers at his own blueline.

"It worked out well for him," said Wild coach Bruce Boudreau. 

3. Staal's goal was a nice turn of events for Minnesota's top line.

In the two games Staal, Coyle and Zach Parise played together in the preseason, it was Staal typically showing off his saucy paws. This time it was Coyle, who cruised up the right wing and flipped the puck to Staal crashing on the back door for a pretty finish.

After scoring 322 goals with the Carolina Hurricanes and three more with the New York Rangers, it was Staal's first goal in a Wild uniform. Coyle and Parise each earned helpers on the play.

"I thought he had a great game," Boudreau said. "I don't know if I've seen that much emotion after he scored a goal in a long time."

Loose Pucks

• Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk , playing in his 300th career NHL game, saved 14 to earn the victory.

• Minnesota improved to 14-0-2 all-time in home openers and has now won its last three lid-lifters at Xcel Energy Center.

• The Wild matched its win total from last season against Winnipeg; the Jets won four of the five meetings a year ago. The Central Division rivals will play four more times in 2016-17. 

• Minnesota allowed nine first-period shots, then surrendered just eight the rest of the way.

• The Wild will continue its three-game homestand on Tuesday when it welcomes to the Los Angeles Kings to Xcel Energy Center. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m.  

He Said It

"What I said [after the first period] will stay in the room, but in no uncertain terms, it was, we can be better than we were playing. We looked, when we came off in the first period, the thing that got me more upset is, we looked defeated. We had to change that, and we did." -- Wild coach Bruce Boudreau on his message at the first intermission 

He Said It Again

"There were choice words by Bruce, I guess you could say. But the right things [were] said and I think everybody knew that if we got to our game and got on our toes a little more, we would feel the momentum shift. And it did; we were rewarded with some big goals and got the building energized. It was fun to be a part of." -- Wild center Eric Staal on Boudreau's message to his players after 20 minutes

They Said It

"We didn't create enough chaos in the offensive zone to open up some of the plays I think we were looking for." -- Jets coach Paul Maurice on Winnipeg's lack of quality scoring chances

Three Stars

*Chris Stewart

**Eric Staal

***Jared Spurgeon

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