PHILADELPHIA – The crises were similar, but the circumstances were not.
As the Flyers flounder toward the lottery draft, the Wild are well and truly in a playoff race.
And finally, the urgency of that situation translated to the ice where the team rallied 5-4 Thursday in front of 13,876 at the Wells Fargo Center to snap its four-game losing streak.
After the Wild tied Philadelphia four times, the team finally took the lead on a Jonas Brodin point shot with 7 minutes and 19 seconds left in the third period for only their second victory in their last eight matches.
Just 25 seconds before that, Matt Boldy capitalized to make it 4-4.
Frederick Gaudreau and Ryan Hartman also scored for the Wild, with Hartman setting a new career high and Gaudreau scoring his third goal in the last four games. Kevin Fiala had two assists and in goal Cam Talbot made 26 saves to snap his four-game slide.
Almost immediately, the Wild was in comeback mode.
The Flyers, who had lost seven of their last eight games, converted early when Scott Laughton intercepted a pass from Marcus Foligno in the offensive zone for a breakaway that he completed with a backhand shot 3:49 into the game. First period.
Hartman responded at 11:50 when he headed a pass from Mats Zuccarello, a play that teammate Kirill Kaprizov also factored in to level the score. The goal was Hartman’s 20, which topped the career-best 19 he compiled as a rookie in 2016-17 with Chicago.
But just 1:26 later, Philadelphia took the lead on a tight one-timer from Patrick Brown.
As before, the Wild responded and this time Gaudreau provided the equalizer with four seconds left in the period. He reversed a punt attempt and skated into the slot before wiring the puck through Flyers goaltender Carter Hart. Over his last 15 games, Gaudreau has amassed 12 points.
Instead of that goal galvanizing the Wild for the second period, the team stuck to the same script: fall behind and then catch up.
Travis Konecny was left alone in front of Talbot to collect the puck, spin it and shoot it into the net at 5:07 of the period to give Philadelphia a 3-2 lead.
But again, the Wild fired even when Hartman jammed a loose puck at 9:04. It was the second time this season Hartman had scored twice in a game and his fifth career multi-goal effort; his 21 goals are second on the team, behind Kaprizov’s 24. Hart had 33 saves.
Too many men benched by the Wild put the Flyers on the power play late in the second, and that was enough time for them to take advantage.
Claude Giroux’s shot from inside the left faceoff circle was deflected at 19:14 by James van Riemsdyk, who was placed in front of Talbot as a screen.
Philadelphia went 1-3 on the power play, while the Wild lost their only chance. These results continued tough times for both special teams units; the Wild’s power play hasn’t converted in its last five games, going 0 for 14, and the penalty kill has given up at least one goal in 10 of the last 11.
That Flyers lead lingered in the third period until Boldy’s ninth goal of the season put both teams back in first place before Brodin gave the Wild their first lead of the night, an advantage to which he wouldn’t give up.
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