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Punch, shootout: Wild finishes Red Wings after losing late lead


DETROIT — The spotlight continued to hover above the Red Wings crease.

It was there that the Wild benefited from an own goal, lost a goal to goalie interference, and faced Detroit in a melee that broke out late in the second period – a bloody fight that drew the two guards.

And later, after each team erased a third-period deficit, the Wild finished a tension-fueled 6-5 victory in the Red Wings’ net Thursday past 17,461 at Little Caesars Arena to seal straight wins for the first time in almost a month.

“That’s the kind of team we are,” Matt Dumba said. “Character team.”

Mats Zuccarello and Kevin Fiala delivered in the shootout, the only players to capitalize after Detroit were disallowed on both of their tries.

For Zuccarello, who also scored in regular time, it was his 11th career game-winning goal, while Fiala recorded his team-leading fourth in a shootout. Goaltender Cam Talbot made 29 saves in his third straight win, supporting the Wild on their seventh NHL-leading multi-goal comeback.

“There’s a lot of intensity right now, which is probably a good thing,” coach Dean Evason said. “We have to be as intense so that we can play the way we want.”

Initially, the Red Wings were in rally mode.

Fiala slid the puck to Matt Boldy for a one-timer 1:37 into the first period, Fiala extending his point streak to five games. Then, after Jakub Vrana tied the game at 6:14, the Wild regained the lead on a bizarre own goal by Detroit goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic; he sent a puck deflected by Joel Eriksson Ek into the net at 12:07. The goal counted as Eriksson Ek’s second in as many games and with an assist later in the game, he set a new career high for points at 31.

Nedeljkovic, however, made up for that mistake in his 35 saves.

He got an assist on the Red Wings’ next goal, a Lucas Raymond shot at 14:09 of the first. And on the power play with 1:29 left in the period, Detroit took the lead on a one-timer from Vrana.

That advantage doubled in the second when Raymond converted on a redirect at 5:52, but the Wild persevered.

Zuccarello’s shot from the right side at 9:31 on the power play was stolen by Nedeljkovic, then just 3 minutes later Jordan Greenway tipped in the equalizer as Eriksson Ek scrambled with Red Wings’ Pius Suter, who ended up hitting Nedeljkovic as the puck sailed into the net.

Detroit was challenged for goaltender interference and after a video review the goal was reversed with the NHL determining Eriksson Ek brought Suter to connect with Nedeljkovic.

“We are still very confused by the call,” Evason said.

The game was also ahead of Nedeljkovic when the second period ended, with the two sides tangled in the crease and Nedeljkovic hitting Greenway after the horn sounded. One-on-one fights broke out and Talbot skated down the rink to join the fracas.

He and Nedeljkovic were separated, but a fight between Dumba and Raymond resulted in a pool of blood from Raymond on the ice.

“He was on my back and choking me, and I slipped away and saw a little bit red at that moment,” Dumba said. “I was just swinging, swinging back.”

In the end, Detroit received a power play to start the third.

“They said we started,” Evason said of the brawl. “But if you’re going to make that call, then every first punch should be tracked.”

Not only did the Wild survive that chance, but the team scored the tying goal soon after when Boldy’s shot went through Nedeljkovic at 3:04.

Boldy has up to 11 goals, and it was his second career multi-goal game. The other was a hat trick against the Red Wings on Feb. 14. Frederick Gaudreau’s assist was his second of the game.

Later in the third, at 12:13, Kirill Kaprizov hit a rebound for the go-ahead goal, his team-leading 29th in a seven-game point streak.

But Jordan Oesterle’s blistering shot with 2:51 left in the third period sent the game into overtime, where the Wild earned back-to-back victories for the first time since Feb. 12-14.

“That’s what this team does best,” Talbot said. “We may be down, but we’ve never been out.”

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