St. Paul, MN – Jason Zucker's tally 2:15 into overtime lifted the Minnesota Wild to a 3-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 3 of this Western Conference quarterfinal.
Zucker, who hit the crossbar in a Game 1 overtime loss, fired a loose puck home from along the goal line to the left of the Chicago net for his first career playoff marker. Matt Cullen did most of the work prior to the score, battling a Blackhawks defender behind the cage and slipping the puck in front while falling to the ice.
"(I wanted to) jump into the glass," Zucker said when asked what his initial reaction was following the end of the game.
Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Zach Parise also lit the lamp for the Wild, who had lost the first two games on the road to kick off their first postseason series since 2008. Josh Harding made 25 stops to earn his first career playoff victory.
Johnny Oduya and Duncan Keith scored for the Blackhawks, while Patrick Kane assisted on both goals and Corey Crawford posted 34 saves in defeat.
Game 4 remains in the Twin Cities on Tuesday.
"They played like they had to win, and we didn't," said Chicago head coach Joel Quenneville.
Oduya's short-side wrister from the left circle zipped past Harding and gave Chicago a 1-0 lead with 6:34 remaining in the first period.
Bouchard then potted a rebound on the backhand from the left side to tie the score with 90 seconds left before intermission. It was the lone shot of 15 Minnesota chances that Crawford allowed to escape his grasp.
"He was a very, very good player tonight," said Wild head coach Mike Yeo of Bouchard."
Neither team clicked despite four combined power-play opportunities in a scoreless second period. Harding came up with eight stops, but Crawford earned his keep with 14 saves.
Parise's backhander settled high and inside the right post to give Minnesota a 2-1 advantage at 3:09 of the third, and the Blackhawks kept pressing until Keith overpowered Harding on a blast from the left circle with 2:46 to play.
"I think we can be more physical," Keith said. "They were the hungrier team tonight and it showed in the result."
Sunday's decision was Minnesota's first overtime playoff win since a 3-2 decision at Denver in Game 3 of a Western quarterfinal against the Avalanche on April 14, 2008 ...The Wild recalled forwards Jake Dowell, Mikael Granlund and Stephane Veilleux from Houston (AHL) prior to the contest ... Blackhawks goaltender Ray Emery and forward Dave Bolland continued to sit ... Wild forward Kyle Brodziak's assist on Bouchard's goal was his first career postseason point ... Oduya's tally was his first postseason goal in his 27th career playoff appearance.