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Minnesota Wild celebrate a playoff spot by winning in a shootout

The Minnesota Wild defeated the Boston Bruins 4-3 in a shootout Tuesday at the Xcel Energy Center.
The Minnesota Wild defeated the Boston Bruins 4-3 in a shootout Tuesday at the Xcel Energy Center.
Joseph Gunther/Minnesota Wild Examiner

The Minnesota Wild needed just one point, in any manner, to clinch a playoff spot.

The Wild got that point and an extra one to secure the top wild card spot with a 4-3 come-from-behind shootout victory over the Boston Bruins Tuesday at the Xcel Energy Center.

Ryan Suter sent the game to overtime with a shot through traffic and to the back of the net with one minute and five seconds remaining in the third period.

“(Jason Pominville) made a great pass,” Suter said. “It got a little ahead of me. I kind of fanned on it, but we had good net presence. Put it on net, anything can happen.”

The Wild (42-26-12) have made a habit of coming back in the third period to win or force overtime with three such victories and one shootout loss in the last six games.

“It says we have confidence,” Suter said. “Our group is growing. Early on I felt like we get down by a goal or two and throw in the towel. We seemed young and immature. We’ve really grown and grown well. It says a lot about our team.”

Those comebacks have helped the Wild win five of the last six games, but coming from behind is not a habit they want to continue.

“It is never something you want to make a habit of,” Parise said. “At least you feel like you have the ability to do it - and do it against good teams.”

The Wild got on the board first when Pominville ripped a one-timer from the point past Tuukka Rask on the power play one minute and five seconds into the game.

Pominville added his second goal of the game 56 seconds after the Bruins took a 2-1 lead.

Mikko Koivu scored the only goal in the shootout with his trademark backhand move and Ilya Bryzgalov stopped all three shooters.

The Bruins (53-18-8) had leads of 2-1 and 3-2 before surrendering the tying goal. Reilly Smith scored first on the power play with a shot from the point that glanced off Kyle Brodziak and Nate Prosser.

Patrice Bergeron gave the Bruins their first lead with an even strength goal off a loose puck in the face off circle near the midway point of the opening period.

Loui Eriksson gave the Bruins their 3-2 lead by re-directing a shot from the point past Bryzgalov on the power play.

The Wild return to action Thursday against the St. Louis Blues at the Xcel Energy Center.

Three Stars

No. 3 - Ilya Bryzgalov. The Wild goaltender stopped 21 shots.

No. 2 - Ryan Suter. The Wild defenseman scored a goal.

No. 1 - Jason Pominville. The Wild forward had two goals and one assist.

Boxscore

Boston…….…2 1 0 0 - 3

Minnesota……2 0 1 0 - 4

First Period - 1, Minnesota, Pominville 28 (Koivu, Parise), 1:05 (pp). 2, Boston, Smith 20 (unassisted), 3:00 (pp). 3, Boston, Bergeron 29 (Marchand, Chara), 10:28. 4, Minnesota, Pominville 29 (Moulson, Haula), 10:56. Penalties - Lucic, BOS (tripping), :41; Suter, MIN (slashing), 2:07.

Second Period - 5, Boston, Eriksson 9 (Campbell, Chara), 16:18 (pp). Penalties - Thornton, BOS (holding), 13:18; Fontaine, MIN (tripping), 14:38.

Third Period - 6, Minnesota, Suter 8 (Pominville, Koivu), 18:55. Penalties - Haula, MIN (tripping), 6:54; Eriksson, BOS (high sticking), 7:32; Moulson, MIN (hooking), 8:11; Suter, MIN (interference), 14:28.

Overtime - None. Penalties - None.

Shootout - Boston: Bergeron (miss), Smith (save), Marchand (save). Minnesota: Parise (save), Koivu (goal), Pominville (save).

Shots on goal - Boston 6-9-7-2 24. Minnesota 9-4-5-6 24.

Goalies - Boston, Rask (21-24). Minnesota, Bryzgalov (21-24). Referees - Dan O’Rourke, Graham Skilliter. Linesmen - Kiel Murchison, Matt MacPherson.