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Greatest Games: Minnesota Wild – The Game 7 Comeback

Four times, the Wild fell behind. Four times, they tied it up. Then, in overtime, they took the lead.

No. 1 – April 30, 2014 – Minnesota 5, Colorado 4 (OT)

On the road, in a first-round series where the visiting team had not won a single game, the Wild had to rally from a one-goal deficit four times to force overtime in Game 7 before Nino Niederreiter, streaking down the right wing, silenced a stunned crowd in Colorado with a snipe off the net’s back camera.

Mikko Koivu, Dany Heatley, Niederreiter and Jared Spurgeon scored the tying goals, the latter coming with 2:27 left in regulation, after Niederreiter won a puck battle and set up Spurgeon in the right circle. Spurgeon whipped the equalizer past Semyon Varlamov before a signature one-knee, fist-pump celebration that’s embedded in the memory of Wild fans.

Then, in overtime, Heatley sent an outlet pass to Kyle Brodziak, who fed Niederreiter in transition. The big winger sped down the right side and let it rip before flying into the arms of an ecstatic Brodziak. At the time, at 21, Niederreiter became the second-youngest NHL player to score an overtime goal in a Game 7 (a 20-year-old Claude Lemieux did so for Montreal in 1986).

There was additional drama when Wild goalie Darcy Kuemper was injured with 8:13 left and the Avs ahead 4-3. An ice-cold Ilya Bryzgalov came in and played the final 13:15, but the puck was mostly in the other end for the rest of the game. Bryzgalov only faced one shot, which he turned aside.

It was the franchise’s first playoff series victory since 2003, when the third-year Wild stunned the hockey world by rallying from a pair of 3-1 series deficits over Colorado and Vancouver to advance to the Western Conference final.

No. 2 – April 22, 2003 – Minnesota 3, Colorado 2 (OT)
Andrew Brunette scored the Wild’s first series-clinching goal 3:25 into overtime, ending the career of Hall of Fame goalie Patrick Roy in the process.

No. 3 – Jan. 9, 2010 – Minnesota 6, Chicago 5
Down 5-1 in the third period, the Wild scored four times, the last by Guillaume Latendresse with 1:33 to go, before winning in a shootout.

GREATEST INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE OF ALL-TIME

Marian Gaborik
Dec. 20, 2007 – Minnesota 6, NY Rangers 3
In the words of veteran MSG play-by-play announcer Sam Rosen, “It’s Marian Gaborik Night in St. Paul!”

That’s what Rosen said when Gaborik scored his franchise-record fifth goal and sixth point during a 6-3 pounding of the Rangers. “Shades of Pavel Bure,” said Wild teammate Mark Parrish after the game. It was the NHL’s first five-goal game in nearly 11 years. Gaborik was so wired that he couldn’t sleep that night: “You’re in some kind of zone. After the game, you keep thinking about it, how it happened, what led to it. You try to pinch yourself to see if it’s real.”

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