There were many key moments that defined the Minnesota Wild's 2015-16 season. Wild.com will take a look at some of the most important.
Friday, April 22, 2016 — The season was over, and then it wasn't.
If there was a more perfect example of the emotional swing hockey can create, of how things can go from seeming so dire to so outstanding in the blink of an eye, the moment might have actually exploded the universe.
The Wild, trailing 3-1 in its best-of-7 series against the Dallas Stars was down to its final strike.
Dallas' next win meant an end to Minnesota's season. Playing on the road at American Airlines Center, the Wild was hoping to extend its playoffs with a last-gasp effort.
And it took every breath, and nearly every second to elongate that expiration date.
Though the Wild held leads of 2-0 and 3-2 during Game 5, a pair of Stars goals 28 seconds apart about midway through the third period gave Dallas a 4-3 lead. The second goal, a point shot that deflected off a Wild player in the crease and past Devan Dubnyk, not only took the wind out of Minnesota's sails, it seemingly threw the sails overboard off the ship.
But the Wild's never-say-die attitude, cliché to some, a mantra and calling card of the 2015-16 team, took over. And with Minnesota perhaps facing its most adversity of the season, its captain took over, when Mikko Koivu not only tied the game late in the third period, but won it with an overtime goal, his scores coming 8:06 of game time apart.
What It Looked Like
What Was Written
From the recap: Mikko Koivu scored 4:55 into overtime to give the Minnesota Wild a series-extending 5-4 win against the Dallas Stars in Game 5 of the Western Conference First Round at American Airlines Center on Friday.
Koivu redirected a Ryan Suter wrist shot from the left point for his second goal of the game. He scored the tying goal with 3:09 remaining in the third period.
"All the goals tonight and the whole game kept us alive here, and now we have another chance to go home and play in Game 6. Now the preparing starts for that one," Koivu said.
From Five Takeaways: They were dead.
And then they weren’t.
The anatomy of the third period of Game 5 on Friday was that of a roller coaster mixed in with an episode of cardiac arrest with a side of spelunking.
“It’s fun,” interim Head Coach John Torchetti said.
In a sick way, it is.
The Minnesota Wild was done. Trailing 4-3 late in the third period, not generating much in the way of any offense, and a loss away from its season ending, the Wild was finished.
It came on the heels of a one-goal lead to begin the period, followed 60 seconds later by a tying Stars goal, followed 50 seconds later by the Wild retaking the lead, followed 6:38 later by a Stars tying goal, and then 28 seconds later by the Stars grabbing their first lead of the night.
But as Mikko Koivu proved, it only takes a second and a shot to completely turn things on their head.
Koivu scored with 189 seconds separating the Wild from its offseason, a goal befitting of the Wild captain and how he’s upped the ante in this first round series. Koivu scored the winner in Game 3, arguably the Wild’s biggest goal of the season until he chipped home a Mikael Granlund centering feed late in the third period on Friday.
And then in overtime, when sudden death quite literally meant a goal-against was the end for Minnesota, Koivu did it again, deflecting home a Ryan Suter shot for the game-winner.
“A lot of emotions,” Suter said. “The whole series has been ups and downs, and that’s what playoffs are.”
The emotional spectrum was broad, and then some.
“Those are big,” Koivu said.
What It Sounded Like
Koivu's game-tying goal
What Was Tweeted
More Sights And Sounds: