Wild rallies, plays spoiler in 3-2 win at Madison Square Garden

·4 min read

NEW YORK – Instead of starting the rally, Frederick Gaudreau finished it.

After blanking on a penalty shot in the second period that could have begun the team's climb out of a two-goal hole, Gaudreau wrapped up a 3-2 comeback against the Rangers on Friday in front of 18,006 at Madison Square Garden to spoil Henrik Lundqvist's jersey retirement celebration with the Wild's fourth straight win.

Overall, the Wild is 7-0-1 over its last eight games.

"We have a group that everybody is honest, so everybody knows when we're not playing our best and we knew we could come back," Gaudreau said. "We've done it in the past."

Gaudreau skated behind the Rangers to wire a puck past goaltender Igor Shesterkin just 1 minute, 49 seconds into the third period to break a 2-2 tie with his career-high third goal of the season.

That play stood up as the clincher after a close call by the Rangers, who stuffed the puck into the net behind a sprawled Cam Talbot with one second remaining in the third period. But the goal was immediately waved off by the on-ice official, and video review confirmed Talbot's pad was nudged into the net by New York's Ryan Strome to cause the goal.

Talbot racked up 25 saves, while Shesterkin had 31.

"Tough building to make that call," Wild coach Dean Evason said. "But it was the right call."

Gaudreau's penalty shot 2:56 into the second period was the Wild's first since Nov. 6, 2017, at Boston when Mikael Granlund was unsuccessful against the Bruins' Tuukka Rask. Overall, the Wild is 17-for-37 in the situation after Gaudreau's backhander was stopped. On his goal, he stayed on his forehand.

"He's not going to let something like that bother him," Evason said. "He's just going to go out and keep playing."

Kevin Fiala and Mats Zuccarello combined to set up Gaudreau's goal, their second points of the evening after each scored in the second period to extend their respective point streaks to a career-best 10 games.

Not only are their runs tied for the longest active point streaks in the NHL, but they're only the fourth and fifth players in Wild history to post a double-digit point streak.

"We just push each other," Fiala said.

BOXSCORE: Wild 3, N.Y. Rangers 2

After an emotional pregame ceremony that culminated in Lundqvist's famed No. 30 rising to the rafters, the Wild struggled and fell behind 2-0 on first-period goals from Barclay Goodrow (8:47) and Chris Kreider, whose tally at 17:08 was his league-leading 31st.

"We had nothing, like nothing," said Evason, who mentioned General Manager Bill Guerin called the period the worst he's seen. "We had no legs."

But momentum changed possession in the second.

Fiala peeled away from a defender to open space where he one-timed in a Ryan Hartman feed at 12:18 for his eighth goal during a 10-game point streak that's tied for the second longest in Wild history.

Zuccarello had the Wild's second goal only 1:29 later after capitalizing on a point shot on the power play. The Wild went 1-for-2 with a man advantage, New York 0-for-2.

"Obviously, very emotional and great ceremony," said Zuccarello, a former Ranger whose nickname was chanted by the crowd throughout the night. "Then to get the win is a bonus here. That was a great day."

Zuccarello's goal was set up by Kirill Kaprizov, who now has a point on the power play in three consecutive games for the first time in his NHL career. Kaprizov has 10 points during his six-game point streak and 18 in his last 10.

But the Rangers didn't go away, with the Wild withstanding a last-minute wave of pressure to bank its latest come-from-behind feat.

"That's the good thing about our group," Fiala said. "We can kind of just flip the switch. Obviously, we don't want to do that. We want to be ready from the start to the end.

"But on nights like this, it's good we can figure it out and take it over."