Down But Never Out. Wild Win Overtime Thriller Against Jets In Home Opener

Wild home opener Joel Eriksson-Ek
Oct 19, 2021; Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Wild center Joel Eriksson Ek (14) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal for a hat trick against the Winnipeg Jets in overtime at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: David Berding-USA TODAY Sports

The lesson learned from Tuesday night’s game between Minnesota (3-0-0) and the Winnipeg Jets (0-3-0) was that you can never leave early when watching the Wild. Some of the 18,156 fans in attendance began heading towards the exits after Winnipeg seemingly scored an empty-net goal to make it 6-4 with a minute to go in the third. However the goal was overturned after Minnesota challenged that Kyle Connor was offside entering the zone. Joel Eriksson-Ek tied the game 15 seconds later and eventually scored the game-winning overtime goal to give the Wild the 6-5 win. The Wild have now won three games in a row and are the top team in the Western Conference

The Minnesota Wild started Tuesday night’s game in familiar territory as Kyle Connor scored for Winnipeg 3:48 into the game. The Wild have not scored the first goal in a game yet this season. However, Minnesota responded just like they have all year as Mats Zuccarello scored just 53 seconds later to make it 1-1.

That would be just one of four times that the Wild erased a Winnipeg lead on Tuesday night. Kyle Connor scored his second goal of the game at the 8:17 mark to give the lead back to Jets. The Wild would respond on the power play with 1:20 left in the period, as Joel Eriksson-Ek scored his first goal of the season to make it 2-2 after the first period.

Early in the second period Winnipeg once again took the lead on a power-play goal from Josh Morrissey. Minnesota had plenty of chances to tie it up but did not capitalize until a deflected puck found its way past Connor Hellebuyck with just over three minutes left – the goal was awarded to Mats Zuccarello, his second of the night.

Winnipeg again took the lead early with two goals 2:18 apart in the first seven minutes of the third period. The Wild got back within a goal after Marcus Foligno scored a power-play goal with five minutes left in the game. After allowing, challenging, and overturning a Winnipeg empty-net goal the Wild tied the game thanks to Joel Eriksson-Ek’s second goal of the night.

Eriksson-Ek would also be the hero in overtime. The trio of Kirill Kaprizvov, Kevin Fiala, and Eriksson-Ek capitalized off of a great save by goaltender Cam Talbot and scored a highlight-reel goal to win the game.

The hat trick was Eriksson-Ek’s first in the NHL and was the 31st in Minnesota Wild franchise history. He had seven shots on goal and was 19-for-25 on faceoffs (76%) and looked like he was worth every penny of the eight-year, $42 million contract extension that he signed this last offseason.

The Minnesota Wild continue their homestand with two games this upcoming weekend. The Wild face the Anaheim Ducks (2-2-0) on Saturday and Nashville Predators (1-2-0) on Sunday. Both games start at 5:00 p.m. and will be broadcast on Bally Sports North.