Goalie Filip Gustavsson of the Minnesota Wild

Goalie Filip Gustavsson of the Minnesota Wild


Goalie Filip Gustavsson of the Minnesota Wild

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and that’s why the Minnesota Wild decided to pull their goalie in overtime when facing the Nashville Predators back on March 10.

The Wild “took a calculated risk,” as Heavy.com reported after the game, but it must be said that it “paid off handsomely.”

That, however, wasn’t the case three weeks later when the Wild tried to pull off the bold move once more on Saturday in their matchup against the Vegas Golden Knights at Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul, MN.

With no goaltender in net after pulling him to get a one-man advantage in overtime, Wild’s forward Mats Zuccarello attempted a shot on the offensive end, got it blocked by Vegas’ netminder Logan Thompson, and with that, the loss was written in the wall.

Vegas’ William Karlsson received the puck, passed it to Jonathan Marchessault, and the then 39-goal scorer added a 40th goal to his season-long tally to give his team two points and leave the Wild in the cold with no loser’s point earned.

Minnesota Wild Felt Victim to Their Own Past Success

When the Wild first pulled the goalie in overtime in that March 10 contest, not a lot of people were aware of the potential (negative) consequences nor knew the rules of the game when it goes to OT and a team decides to pull their netminder.

According to NHL Rule 84.2: “Should that team (the one pulling the goalie) lose the game during the time in which the goalkeeper has been removed, it would forfeit the automatic point gained in the tie at the end of regulation play.”

The Wild refused to learn the lesson three weeks ago but couldn’t escape it on Holy Saturday. And this time, the consequences are much more damaging than they were a few weeks back when there was still plenty of time to amend possible missteps.

Following their overtime loss to the Golden Knights, the Wild are not officially eliminated from the playoffs but have a steep hill to climb if they want to make them for the fifth consecutive season.

The Wild could have closed Saturday at a seven-point distance from the Los Angeles Kings had they gotten goalie Filip Gustavsson on the ice. Instead, the Wild went the other way and went home with no added points to their tally, still sitting eight points behind Los Angeles.

Jack Eichel Gets First Major, Vegas Nears Postseason Berth

This game was unique in more than one way. Not only did the Wild pull the goalie in overtime and lost earning no points, but fans attending the contest and watching from home witnessed something that had never happened before.

In the third period of Saturday’s matchup, Golden Knights’ forward Jack Eichel speared Wild’s forward Kirill Kaprizov as the latter was exiting his own zone without the puck.

The action resulted in Eichel’s first major penalty through his career in the NHL including stints at Buffalo (six seasons) and Las Vegas (three including this one), according to Danny Webster of the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Kaprizov had cross-checked Eichel before the Golden Knights player caught him and was called for spearing. Kaprizov was the man who opened the score for the Wild putting his team up 1-0 16:44 into the second period.

The effort went for nothing, however, as Michael Amadio in the third frame and Marchessault in overtime combined to score two goals for Vegas in their come-from-behind victory over Minnesota.

Entering Easter Sunday, according to MoneyPuck, the Wild have a tiny 4.2% probability of making the playoffs while the Golden Knights boosted their odds all the way up to 97.5 percent.

Antonio Losada covers the NHL for Heavy.com. A veteran sports writer based in Spain, Antonio has covered the NBA, NFL and soccer for over 10 years, with bylines at SB Nation, FanSided, Yahoo Sports, FanGraphs, RotoBaller and more. He has also been nominated for multiple FSWA awards, including Fantasy Football Writer of the Year and DFS Writer of the Year. More about Antonio Losada

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