Victor Rask nets game-winner as Wild beat Ducks in OT

Nobody on the Wild felt good about their effort in Friday’s overtime win over the the Anaheim Ducks.

Though superstar rookie Kirill Kaprizov ultimately stole the show to help the Wild secure the two points, coach Dean Evason lamented the seemingly constant stream of turnovers throughout the game.

Asked about the overall effort, Evason summed it up in a succinct statement: “Tonight, we didn’t respond properly. Tomorrow, we need to.”

Likely, the Wild blowing a two-goal lead in Saturday’s game wasn’t what Evason had in mind. In the end, though, Victor Rask scored the game-winner to lift the Wild to a 4-3 overtime win.

More than the win itself, Evason was happy with the way the Wild cleaned up their game after a sloppy effort 24 hours earlier.

“Tremendous,” Evason said. “We talked in between both periods about how we were doing the right things. It wasn’t like we dumped it in every time either. We just weren’t risky. We didn’t try to make plays between legs and sticks The guys were very committed. They talked their way through it and adjusted themselves and came out the right way tonight.”

Still, the Wild found themselves chasing the game midway through the first period after Rickard Rakell redirected a shot to put the Ducks ahead 1-0.

That seemed to energize the Wild and Jared Spurgeon tied the score at 1-1 late in the first period thanks to a perfect pass from Kaprizov in close.

“I thought he was going to look me off a couple more times,” Spurgeon said with a smirk. “He’s so deceptive with the puck and obviously he’s a threat to shoot at anytime so it makes the goalie honor him, too.”

That paved the way for the second period where the Wild started to take over. It started with Ryan Hartman netting a tap-in goal to make it 2-1. It was eerily similar to Spurgeon’s goal earlier in the night as Kaprizov found Hartman with a brilliant pass.

“I would be more than fine with him shooting that puck, too,” Hartman said with a smile. “There’s a good chance he’s going to put it in the net. But like Jared said, the goalie has to respect his shot ,and his ability to score.  I was just there.”

Less than a minute later, Nick Bonino increased the lead to it 3-1 with a blast from the slot.

While it looked like the Wild had the game in the bag at that point, the Ducks had other ideas in the third period.

The comeback started when Trevor Zegras  cut the deficit to 3-2 with a blistering wrist shot that snuck past Cam Talbot. Then, with the game winding down, Max Comtois tied it at 3-3 with 26 seconds left on the clock.

That set the stage for overtime where Rask played hero after sneaky stretch pass by Matt Dumba to spring him loose. It was a fitting finish after Rask missed an empty-netter in the waning seconds of regulation.

“Just a great pass by Dumbs,” Rask said. “He caught everyone off guard. I wasn’t very tired. I still had legs.”

Those legs lifted the Wild to a big win.

“We did a better job tonight,” Spurgeon said. “Obviously there’s still room to improve. Every game we go out there we have to be getting better at something and perfecting our game and keeping it consistent throughout the playoffs. I think there’s still things to work on but we’re happy with the wins.”

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