DALLAS — The goals scored by the Minnesota Wild on Friday night were described as “fluky” by their opponent, but Minnesota will take both dazzling skill and good fortune as it came away with an important road victory.
Joel Eriksson Ek’s wrap-around goal with 27 seconds remaining broke a tie and delivered the Wild a 3-2 victory over the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center. The tally was the second of the evening for Eriksson Ek, and Ryan Donato also scored for the Wild as they came back from a 2-0 deficit.
Eriksson Ek was able to sweep behind the net before squeaking a wrap-around past Stars goalkeeper Ben Bishop at Bishop’s left post to cap off a game in which he scored half of his season goal total going into tonight (four). His other goal came in the second period when the puck deflected in off of his left skate.
“I saw the goalie was on the far post, so I was trying to get it to the other side as quickly as possible,” Erikkson Ek said.
Devan Dubnyk made 31 saves for Minnesota, including stopping 15 of 16 Stars’ shots in the first period to keep them in the game long enough before the Wild started their comeback with their goals.
“Dubnyk played great for them. He did his thing and they got a couple of fluky goals on us,” said Stars interim head coach Rick Bowness.
Dallas was in control of the first half of the game, attempting the last nine shots on goal in the first period. One of those shots was a power play goal from Joe Pavelski, who put in a rebound from a shot by Tyler Seguin at 15:28 to open the scoring.
Eriksson Ek had just finished serving a penalty when Denis Gurianov doubled the Stars lead on a slapshot from the face-off circle that beat Dubnyk early in the second period.
After Eriksson Ek’s first goal at 8:25 of the second, the Wild tied the score less than four minutes later when Ryan Donato’s low wrist shot squeezed past right post and behind him for the equalizer at 12:09.
Though the Stars scored just seconds after a power play of theirs, they only scored on one of their eight power-play chances against the poorest penalty kill in the NHL.
“It was a huge win,” said Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau. “We knew that coming in here and playing a rested team that we had beat pretty good the time before (7-0 at Minnesota on Jan. 18), it was going to be a real man’s game tonight. Then you get behind 2-0, but I still thought we were there. Once we got the one goal, the bench livened up and I knew they were going to be in for a tussle the whole game.”
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Friday’s game, with all photos taken by Dallas-area photographer Ross James. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 28 pictures in total.