You Gotta Have Hartman! (Wild at Stars; Game 1)

Ross James/ALOST

akoiki-passport2 – by Adesina O. Koiki
A Lot of Sports Talk editor-in-chief

DALLAS — No matter how much pain Ryan Hartman felt throughout overtime, the excitement that felt at the glorious chance that fell to his stick, and the euphoria that raced through his body upon seizing on that opportunity, was the perfect tonic as the Minnesota Wild won the latest game of the Stanley Cup Playoffs version of Survivor.

Hartman’s goal at 12:20 of the second overtime gave the Minnesota Wild a 3-2 victory over the Dallas Stars in Game 1 of the Western Conference first round series inside American Airlines Center, a game that started on Monday night and officially ended on Tuesday morning.

Hartman, who suffered a leg injury earlier in the game and barely was able to move toward the bench, was able to stick it out, and he was the recipient of a fortunate bounce when a clearing attempt near the right wing boards by Stars defenseman Colin Miller went off the body of Wild forward Sam Steel and bounced right toward the stick of Hartman standing near the top of the crease. Hartman latched onto the puck, turned, and then beat Stars goalkeeper Jake Oettinger with a forehand to end the longest game in Minnesota Wild history.

“Big goal. It helped the pain, but I feel good,” said Hartman, who scored his fifth career NHL postseason goal. “We’ll try to get some things done here and get ready for game two.”

The heroics from Hartman would not have been possible without the stellar play of Minnesota goalkeeper Filip Gustavsson, who made 52 saves in his first-ever Stanley Cup Playoffs start. More than half of those saves came after regulation, with Gustavsson making 17 saves in the first overtime and 10 more stops in the second, some of the spectacular variety.

The Wild also killed off a power play in each overtime session, with Hartman’s goal coming just 1:09 after Minnesota successfully killed a Stars power play after Frederick Gaudreau was called for a tripping penalty.

“We did hang on for a bit there. It was a great hockey game, it flows, we’re back and forth,” Wild coach Dean Evason said. “The overtime’s, there were some unbelievable looks and great saves. The hockey game had everything. We’re happy with the way we held our composure. We did it tonight, and we have to do it again.”

Kirill Kaprizov scored the opening goal of the game, as he deflected a wrist shot from defenseman Jared Spurgeon while on power play goal with 47.7 seconds remaining in the first period.

Both of Dallas’ goals came in the second period and both came on the power play, with tallies from Roope Hintz at the 2:08 mark and Jason Robertson just 125 seconds later giving the Stars the lead. Minnesota tied up the score late in the second period, as Steel broke in alone on Oettinger after blocking a shot before sending a forehand to the roof of the net at the 14:25 mark to tie the score.

Stars right wing Joe Pavelski left the game in the second period and did not return after a high hit by Wild defenseman Matt Dumba, a play that resulted in a roughing penalty for the latter.

*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Monday evening’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 15 pictures in total.

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