Wild fall 3-2 to Blues as Ryan O’Reilly nets buzzer beater in OT

Fresh off the worst loss in franchise history, the Wild entered Saturday’s game against the St. Louis Blues with more than enough motivation.

Not only did the Wild want to show everyone that they were much better than the wretched performance from about 24 hours earlier, they didn’t want to give the Blues anymore confidence as both teams push for the playoffs.

It was a good response from the Wild on this particular night, and while they believed they deserved a better fate, the Blues ultimately walked away with a 3-2 overtime victory as Ryan O’Reilly beat Cam Talbot in the waning seconds.

“We came out, and I thought we did everything we needed to win the game,” Talbot said. “They get two of the luckiest bounces I’ve seen, and then they win overtime. We deserved to win that game. I thought we did everything right tonight.”

Asked about the solid effort throughout the game, Matt Dumba responded, “If we didn’t respond, we’d all have to do some soul searching after this game.”

All season long, coach Dean Evason has raved about how this version of the Wild have the innate ability to move on quickly regardless of the circumstance. Whether it was a couple of blowout losses to the rival Colorado Avalanche, or a couple of letdown losses to the San Jose Sharks, the Wild have consistently been able to follow up bad performances with good performances.

That proved to be the case once again as the Wild went toe-to-toe with the Blues before falling in overtime.

“We competed our butts off,” Evason said. “We got a couple of bad bounces this game. I don’t want to say we deserved better because both teams played really well. We just caught a couple of bad bounces, and that was the difference in the game.”

Even before the game started the Wild were behind the eight ball as star winger Kevin Fiala sat out with an upper-body injury. Asked about Fiala’s status moving forward, Evason responded, “We will evaluate him. I don’t know.”

It was a back-and-forth first period before Nico Sturm cashed in on a partial breakaway for the Wild to make it 1-0. It was a fitting reward for Sturm after sitting out as a healthy scratch a couple of times over the past week. He played center in place of Luke Johnson in Saturday’s game.

“It doesn’t matter to me where I’m put in the lineup,” Sturm said. “From a personal standpoint tonight, obviously if I play two games less than everybody on the ice, it probably should be noticeable.”

That score held into the second period, where the Blues leveled the score at 1-1 thanks to a goal from Mike Hoffman.

While that seemed to stun the Wild in the moment, they immediately fought back. Then Dumba blasted a shot into the back of the net late in the second period to make it 2-1.

That paved the way for the third period, where the Wild appeared to have the game wrapped up until the final minute of regulation. That’s when Hoffman scored his second goal of the game to level the score at 2-2 and force overtime.

Though a shootout looked imminent late in the extra session, O’Reilly roofed a backhander in with a couple of seconds left on the clock to end the game.

“I think we were better,” Dumba said. “I think they got lucky.”

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