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Inches from a regulation victory, Wild can't pull it out in overtime

Eriksson Ek, Greenway with golden chances down the stretch but puck luck goes against Minnesota in loss to Carolina

by Dan Myers @mnwildscribe /

ST. PAUL -- At some point, if you're a Wild fan, you have to hope that the puck luck will turn. 

That's certainly the sense inside the team's dressing room as well.

By no means was the Wild perfect on Saturday against the Carolina Hurricanes. It was haunted by yet another frustratingly slow start. It fell behind 2-0 less than six minutes into the game.

There were aspects of the third period where it felt like it sat back just a little too much.

But regardless of all that, the Wild was tied 3-3 in the third period against the Eastern Conference runner-up.

Overtime wouldn't go the right way either, an issue that is becoming increasingly more frustrating for the head coach, as Minnesota earned one point in a 4-3 loss to the Hurricanes in the extra session. 

But it's hard not to think about what might have been.

Video: Bruce Boudreau postgame vs Carolina

"You'd think at one point the puck luck would turn around a little bit, but you've got to keep persevering. That's why I gave them the credit in the second period. I think we were all over them, and then they scored to make it 3-1," said Wild coach Bruce Boudreau. "A lot of teams would have buckled, and it made our team stronger. And we got to 3-3 and I thought we had a couple really good chances in the third to get the lead, but we didn't and stuff happens."

Early in the third period, Joel Eriksson Ek carried the puck into the offensive zone and flipped a shot low towards the five hole of goaltender James Reimer. For a second or two, the puck laid free on the ice between the goalie's legs and crept towards the goal line, only to have Reimer sweep it out of harm's way with his glove.

A few minutes later, Jordan Greenway continued his strong play by going full-on beast mode, holding possession of the puck from the left circle, behind the net and into the right corner, before winning another puck battle to maintain possession and making a b-line for the front of the cage.

Once Greenway got to the top of the crease, he slammed the puck into Reimer's five-hole, only to see it bounce off the back of his left leg and turn sharply to the right, dancing along the goal line before deflecting off the right post.

Video: Locker room postgame vs Carolina

"Mine, I still can't believe it, to be honest with you," Greenway said, shaking his head. "What are you going to do? I don't know if I could have shoved it any harder. We had great chances. Some of them found the net, some of them didn't."

The Wild wasn't perfect, but it has gotten absolutely zero semblance of puck luck during a stretch of games over the past three weeks which has seen the team improve its overall play without always seeing the reward at the end.

Far too often, it's been two steps forward, one or two steps back. And that's not a place to be for a team that desperately needs to put together a run. 

"[We needed] some puck luck. A couple knobs. We had a couple there to take the lead. It would've been nice. It would've been nice for us to get that extra point," said Wild forward Zach Parise, who scored his first shorthanded goal since Nov. 23, 2013. 

"We make it pretty tough on ourselves trying to overcome deficits every game. We got ourselves back into it and tied the game. I thought we were kind of passive in the third period. We spent a lot of time in our own end. We just got ourselves into trouble tonight by giving up a 2-0 lead again."

Video: Soucy nets first NHL goal

The Wild had another unfortunate run in with puck luck in overtime when Andrei Svechnikov flew down the right wing boards and snapped a shot over the glove of goaltender Devan Dubnyk.

The puck, already on edge, clipped defenseman Jared Spurgeon's stick and snuck under the crossbar, sending Minnesota home with just a single point.

"It's crazy," Dubnyk said. "That's how nights finish out like that. Two of their goals are tips that I said to Spurge, 'nine times out of 10, that's going over the glass.' He's such a good skater. His gap's so good that he almost always deflects that over the glass. It happened to be a rolling puck and it ends up in the net. 

"Four pucks [for us] are rolling over the goal line in the third period and don't find a way in. It's frustrating for sure. Sometimes that's how it bounces. We just gotta take the point and continue this good play at home and take it on the road."


Postgame Hat Trick: Hurricanes 4, Wild 3 (OT)

Video: MIN Recap: Parise, Wild lose to Hurricanes in OT, 4-3

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