Despite being the youngest team (along with the Columbus Blue Jackets) in the NHL, the Minnesota Wild have given their fans many moments to smile about. Here, in my opinion, are the top five Minnesota Wild moments.
5. The Minnesota Wild clinch their first division championship
On April 3, 2008, the Wild would beat the Calgary Flames by a score of 3-1, which would not only clinch their first ever division championship, but also Jacque Lemaire’s 500th win as the head coach. This would be one of the biggest wins in Wild history, and would set them up for their third playoff run.
4. The Minnesota Wild’s first-ever home goal
On October 11, 2000, Darby Hendrickson would score the Wild’s first-ever home goal, signifying hockey was finally back in Minnesota, after the North Stars had left seven years earlier. This would be an emotional moment for many of the fans in the state of hockey, as the game they loved was finally back.
3. Richard Park’s overtime goal to force game 7
The Minnesota Wild were able to make their first ever playoff appearance during the 2002-03 season. This was exciting for every fan, but the Wild would not have an easy debut, as they were set to play the highly skilled Colorado Avalanche. The Wild were easily considered the underdog in the series, and quickly fell three games to one; just one away from being eliminated. The Wild would not go out without a fight though, and they kept game six tight all throughout regulation, leading to overtime. Richard Park would find the puck a little less than five minutes into overtime, and would score, forcing a game seven in Colorado.
2. Nino Niederreiter scores in overtime against the Colorado Avalanche
During the 2014 NHL Playoffs, the Wild were set to play their division foes, the Colorado Avalanche. The Avalanche, a very young and talented team, took a 2-0 series lead, a very tough feat to overcome for the Wild. The Wild were not discouraged though, as they would win every home game that they played in the series, which would eventually lead to a game seven in Colorado, where they had not won yet. Game seven was just as intense as every game earlier in the series, and to many of the Wild fans’ dismay, Colorado struck first. The Wild would come back, but every time that they would score, the Avalanche would answer. It would be this way until late into the game, when Jared Spurgeon scored to tie it up, forcing overtime. Overtime was just as intense as the game, but about five minutes in, Nino Niederreiter was given a pass from Kyle Brodziak, and would snipe a shot past Semyon Varlamov. This would win the series for the Wild, and it would be the first time that they exited the first round since the 2002-03 season.
1. Andrew Brunette scores in overtime against the Colorado Avalanche
After the magical goal by Richard Park during game six of the 2003 playoffs, the Wild were forced to attempt to win the series against the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center in Denver. The Wild had already made a miraculous comeback in the series, so they knew it would be hard to seal the deal without the home ice advantage. The Avalanche were a confident and skilled team, so the Wild had their work cut out for them. Game seven of the series was extremely close, and would not be able to be decided in regulation. Early in overtime, Sergei Zholtok would come into possession of the puck, and skated it up center ice. Zholtok would fire a drop pass to Andrew Brunette, who took it to the net, and deked-out legendary goalie, Patrick Roy. This goal would not only lead the Wild to their first-ever first round exit, but would also end the hall of famer, Patrick Roy’s, career.