The day was already a meaningful one for Matt Dumba, with the defenseman’s inaugural hockey camp to spark more diversity and inclusion in hockey kicking off Saturday morning in Roseville — a passion project Dumba hoped would give more kids the chance to fall in love with the game like he has.
But the participants weren’t the only ones impacted by the event.
Dumba was also inspired, and the Wild was the beneficiary.
With 0.3 seconds remaining in overtime, Dumba pushed the Wild past the Kings 4-3 at Xcel Energy Center, securing the team’s sixth consecutive victory in dramatic fashion.
This is the Wild’s longest winning streak since its franchise-best 12-game run Dec. 4-29, 2016.
“To see the videos of the kids and the pictures throughout the day of them just having a blast just gave me all the motivation in the world to come out tonight and really focus and try to give my best and just have a real solid game,” Dumba said. “So, I couldn’t have asked for a better ending.”
The buzzer-beater by Dumba was his sixth overtime goal, the most in franchise history. His finish is also the record for the latest OT goal, officially clocking in at 4:59.
“I had no clue how much time was on the clock,” Dumba said. “I knew it was winding down.”
The game didn’t have to end this way, not with the Wild sporting a 3-0 lead by the early second period.
Joel Eriksson Ek opened the scoring at 14:17 of the first period with his team-high eighth goal. Through 18 games, Eriksson Ek has tied his career high for goals, set in 62 games last season.
“I play with great players,” Eriksson Ek said. “Just trying to work hard together, talk a lot, see how the other guys are thinking. Just trying to be around the net.”
And with 2:35 to go in the first, the fourth line contributed for a third straight game. Nico Sturm redirected in a backhand feed from Nick Bjugstad.
Then rookie Kirill Kaprizov scored a third on a quirky play; the puck was feebly rolling toward the net after Victor Rask broke his stick on the windup, but Kaprizov helped the shot go the rest of the way — whacking at the puck over Calvin Petersen 1:22 into the second. Their line with Mats Zuccarello is up to 24 points over the past five games. Zuccarello has 11 points during a six-game point streak.
The goal marked the first time Kaprizov has scored in consecutive games. Four of his six goals overall this season have come against Los Angeles.
“He’s an unbelievable player,” Kevin Fiala said. “… It’s not just his skill and he can score goals and make plays, but it’s the work ethic. You see when he loses the puck, he gets it back.”
Unlike Friday when the Kings faded after falling behind by three, Los Angeles rallied this time.
At 2:51 of the second, Drew Doughty one-timed a rebound past goalie Kaapo Kahkonen on the power play. Petersen totaled 38 saves, while Kahkonen had 25.
After the Wild had a Jared Spurgeon goal overturned on goaltender interference, Austin Wagner converted on a breakaway at 11:41. And with 2:45 to go in regulation, Adrian Kempe forced OT with another power-play goal.
The Kings went 2-for-4 with the man advantage and the Wild 0-for-3. One of those looks came in overtime, but the Wild didn’t get the shot it needed until Dumba skated into the spotlight for the second time of the day.
“You’re just swarmed by the fellas,” Dumba said. “That’s a feeling anyone who experiences it, it’s one of the best.”