The frustration has been mounting for the Wild for much of the past week.
On a macro scale, the Wild started the day out of the playoff picture after losing three straight games on their recent road trip. On a micro scale, coach Dean Evason decided to send a message by making Matt Dumba a healthy scratch, then doing the same exact thing to Ryan Hartman.
The frustration bubbled over in the early stages of Thursday’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers at Xcel Energy Center. In a span of 20 seconds, Ryan Reaves dropping the gloves with Flyers winger Nic Deslauriers, continued with Mason Shaw dropping the gloves with Flyers winger Wade Allison, and finished with Marcus Foligno dropping the gloves with Flyers winger Zack MacEwen.
Clearly, the fights was designed to spark the team, and the Wild responded accordingly with 3-2 overtime win over the Flyers. Matt Boldy scored a pair of goals, Marc-Andre Fleury chipped with 28 saves, and Mats Zuccarello scored the game-winner in overtime.
Not long after the Wild fell behind early in the first period — Stillwater native Noah Cates put the Flyers in front 1-0 — the fists started to fly from pretty much every direction.
It started with Reaves, continued with Shaw, and finished with Foligno. When the dust settled, the Wild had racked up a total of 15 penalty minutes apiece, and sent the home crowd into oblivion.
Still, the Wild couldn’t get anything going offensively, as Flyers goaltender Carter Hart made some big saves, and his teammates sacrificed their bodies in front of him.
Eventually, the Wild broke through in the second period as Boldy cleaned up a rebound in front to tie the game at 1-1. That goal came shortly after Brandon Duhaime got himself in on the action and dropped the gloves with Flyers center Patrick Brown.
Though it looked like Boldy gave the Wild a lead they wouldn’t relinquish when he made it 2-1 early in the third period, Flyers defenseman Tony DeAngelo tied the game at 2-2 in the waning minutes to force overtime.
That set the stage for Zuccarello to play hero in overtime. It was an incredible individual effort as he deked out everyone on the ice, then calmly depositing the puck into the back of the net.