The Minnesota Wild put together an effort in Game 3 against the Chicago Blackhawks that they along with their fans had been waiting for all season long. Trailing 2-0 in the series and playing in a truly must win game, the Wild were physical, gritty and came away with a 3-2 overtime victory.
After playing a tight overtime game one, the Wild were left in the dust of the best team in the NHL in game two. Game three more resembled game one and finally, the Wild were able to capture a game at home when it mattered. Chicago defenseman Johnny Oduya opened the scoring with a wrister at 13:26 of the first period beating goalie Josh Harding, but the Wild would get the equalizer five minutes later when Pierre-Marc Bouchard found the puck on his stick and put a backhand past Corey Crawford with 90 seconds left in the first.
After a scoreless second period left the score tied at a single goal, it was Zach Parise that gave the 19,000 plus in attendance to watch playoff hockey for the first time in five years a huge boost. Charlie Coyle skated with the puck along the end wall and centered the puck right on Parise's backhand and put it past Crawford for the 2-1 lead.
The Blackhawks pressured for the remainder of the period and Duncan Keith sent a slap shot past Harding to tie the game at two and sent it to overtime.
After the deflating goal, many thoughts turned to ‘here we go again'. The Wild played about as well as they could have against the top seed in the West. Maybe it just wasn't meant to be.
Jason Zucker had other plans.
After Matt Cullen was tripped up on the play along the end wall behind Crawford, Zucker picked off a pass from Oduya and from a sharp angle put it into the net sending the Xcel Energy Center into a state of euphoria and in the process putting his team back into the series.
Game 4 is set for the Xcel Energy Center at 8:30 PM on Tuesday night.