The Minnesota Wild could not keep the energy and momentum they built after completing a lengthy road trip. After a good start, they struggled to stop the Philadelphia Flyers in transition en route to a 4-3 overtime loss Thursday at the Xcel Energy Center.
Michael Del Zotto scored a pair of goals, including a sharp-angle one-timer with 37 seconds remaining in overtime, to lift the Flyers. Del Zotto waited just below the bottom of the circle to the left of Devan Dubnyk and snuck shot over the glove of the goaltender. Jakub Voracek sent a pass across the top of the crease in one motion as Marco Scandella and Mikael Granlund defended against a shot by Claude Giroux in between the circles.
The Wild (21-11-8) played in nine overtime game and have just one win to show for it. They haven’t figured out how to play in the 3-on-3 situations. They haven’t been able to score in almost all of them and have either been unable to get possession, stop the opposing rushes.
“We had chances,” Zach Parise said. “That’s been the theme for the majority of (the losses). We get three or four good looks and we don’t score. You’re going to give up chances. That’s just what 3-on-3 is. We’ve been on the losing end of it way too much. We haven’t scored when we had those rushes or those chances.”
The Wild really lost the game in the first half of the game. Sean Couturier, Del Zotto and Ryan White all scored in similar fashion to help the Flyers (17-15-7) build a 3-1 lead by the midway point of the game. Bad backchecks allowed all three to get to the front of the net and score off odd-man rushes. Jonas Brodin and Matt Dumba were a common denominator in each of them. They had help from several forwards to earn the minus on the scoresheet.
“That wasn’t our best,” Charlie Coyle said. “We had little lapses that took away from our game. Having to fight back there. At that point, yeah, we fought back and that’s great to get the point (in the standings) at that point. We can’t afford to play games like that.”
Jason Zucker sparked the comeback to get to overtime with a breakaway goal at the 15:58 mark of the second period. He deflected a pass for the point in the Wild’s defensive zone, then poked it around the other Flyers defenseman and slid a backhand under Steve Mason.
Parise eventually sent the game to overtime with a fortunate bounce to get the scoring opportunity. The Wild’s leading scorer dumped the puck into the Flyers zone, dodged a check and drove net to forecheck the Flyers defense. Parise had the puck bound back to him at the edge of the crease after Nick Schultz tried to ring it up the boards and hit Mason’s pad. Parise had a mostly open net with six minutes, 24 seconds left in the third period.
Scandella tied the game at 1-1 at the 14:41 mark of the opening period to restore some life to the Wild. He received a pass from Nino Niederreiter at the point and fired a slap shot through traffic and Mason for the goal.
No. 3 – Sean Couturier. The Flyers forward scored a goal.
No. 2 – Brayden Schenn. The Flyers forward recorded two assists.
No. 1 – Michael Del Zotto. The Flyers defenseman scored two goals.