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Wild recover from slow start but lose to Flyers, 5-4, in shootout

Despite the loss, Minnesota (41-22-9, 91 points) is still 7-5 in shootouts this season, the most shootout victories in the NHL.

NHL: Minnesota Wild at Philadelphia Flyers
Philadelphia Flyers left wing James van Riemsdyk scores against Minnesota Wild goalie Marc-Andre Fleury during the shootout Thursday, March 23, 2023, in Philadelphia.
Kyle Ross / USA Today Sports

PHILADELPHIA — For prolonged stretches Thursday night at Wells Fargo Arena, the Minnesota Wild let the Philadelphia Flyers skate circles around them. When they weren’t falling to the ice themselves, anyway.

Though the Wild recovered with some solid play down the stretch, they ultimately suffered a 5-4 shootout loss to the Flyers. The point, however, pushed the Wild into first place in the Central Division while the Dallas Stars played Pittsburgh later Thursday night.

It was a slow start for the Wild, who looked discombobulated from the initial puck drop. To make matters worse, Flyers center Scott Laughton made it 1-0 late in the first period after Jake Middleton misjudged a puck along the boards.

Luckily for the Wild, they responded a few minutes later as Oskar Sundqvist redirected an initial shot from Middleton to tie the game at 1-1. It’s fitting that Middleton garnered an assist on play considering he kept puck in the offensive zone earlier in the sequence with a solid effort near the blue line.

NHL: Minnesota Wild at Philadelphia Flyers
Minnesota Wild left wing Matt Boldy, left, and Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Tony DeAngelo battle for the puck in overtime Thursday, March 23, 2023, in Philadelphia. Boldy had two goals in the game.
Kyle Ross / USA Today Sports

That paved the way for the second period where the Wild struggled to do much of anything. They couldn’t complete simple passes, and when Flyers winger Joel Farabee scored to make it 2-1, the game looked like it might get away from them.

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That’s when Matt Boldy continued his hot streak with a snipe to tie the game at 2-2. That provided the Wild with a shot of life, and Marcus Foligno scored a few minutes later to put Minnesota up, 3-2.

As the second period wound to a close, however, Joel Eriksson Ek took a penalty, and Flyers defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen promptly tied the score 3-3 with a blast from the point.

The game started to even out in the third period as the Wild found their legs at the right time. It culminated with Boldy making it 4-3 in favor of the Wild. He actually scored by reaching behind his back before somehow guiding the puck into the back of the net.

Though that would have made for a nice story if it stood up as the game-winner, the Wild surrendered a goal less than a minute later, allowing Flyers winger Tyson Foerster to race up the right side of the ice to level the score at 4-4.

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That set the stage for overtime and the shootout that followed.

Despite the loss, Minnesota (41-22-9, 91 points) is still 7-5 in shootouts this season, the most shootout victories in the NHL.

Reuters News Service contributed to this report.

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