DALLAS — The nicknames of the two clubs who squared off on the ice at American Airlines Center on Sunday were fitting given how the game played out, as the stars going into the game played like stars, and the end of the contest was absolutely wild.
The grandstand finish, as far as the Dallas Stars are concerned, was as common as days that end in the letter “y.” For the Minnesota Wild, they did just enough to avoid embarrassment to continue their best run of form on the season.
Kirill Kaprizov scored for the sixth straight game while Frederick Gaudreau scored the game-winning goal in the shootout as the Wild won their fourth straight game with a 6-5 victory over the Dallas Stars on Sunday afternoon. Minnesota built a 5-1 lead less than a half minute into the third period before the Stars scored four unanswered goals to tie the score and force overtime.
“We made some mistakes, and I know we didn’t protect the middle of the ice as well as we would have liked, not only in our zone, but off of the rush they came through us pretty easily through the neutral zone,” Minnesota coach Dean Evason said. “We did like that once we got one. It wasn’t like, ‘OK, let’s just sit back,’ we just kept going and pushing forward. Fortunate to get as big of a lead as we did because we needed it.”
After Roope Hintz tied the game for the Stars at the 6:58 mark of the second, the Wild scored four unanswered goals, spanning the second and third periods, to take control. Connor Dewar scored on a breakaway while shorthanded at 10:42 to give Minnesota a 2-1 lead before Jake Middleton and Jordan Greenway scored 15 seconds apart to establish a 4-1 Wild advantage at the 13:32 mark. Stars goalie Jake Oettinger was pulled after the second period, and his replacement, Scott Wedgewood, allowed a Joel Eriksson Ek tally 29 seconds in to open up Minnesota’s four-goal bulge.
The Stars, who came back from a 4-1 deficit in the third period against Chicago on Nov. 23 and a two-goal deficit two days later to force overtime against Winnipeg, launched another furious rally, starting with Hintz’s second goal of the game at 7:12 of the third. Jason Robertson, who extended his point streak to 18 games when he assisted on Hintz’s first goal, scored 38 seconds later to but Minnesota’s lead to 5-3. Mason Marchment cut Minnesota’s lead to one with a goal at the 9:55 mark before Hintz completed his hat trick with the goaltender pulled for the Stars with 2:11 remaining in the third period.
“It’s 5-1 with 12 minutes left. We could be walking out of here with nothing,” Dallas coach Peter DeBoer said. “That’s a really critical point, and you can’t underestimate the fight in this group.”
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Sunday afternoon’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 17 pictures in total.