Wild arrives late, starts strong, hangs on to edge Devils in shootout

By Sarah McLellan

NEWARK, N.J. — The Wild didn't arrive on time for the game, but the team never fell behind on the ice.

Despite getting dropped at Prudential Center late — so much so that puck drop was pushed back about half an hour — the Wild was still prepared enough to slip by the Devils, 3-2, in a shootout on Wednesday to return home from its East Coast road trip 1-1-1.

Kevin Fiala delivered the decisive goal in the shootout, this after New Jersey's Yegor Sharangovich called for extra time when he scored with 1:07 left in the third period.

Goaltender Cam Talbot made 40 saves in addition to stopping all three shootout attempts he faced, a stellar performance after an unusual pregame.

Wild players didn't get to the arena until 6:26 p.m. local time, with game time initially set for 7 p.m.

The delay was caused by a closure to the Holland Tunnel, which connects New York City with New Jersey, and a new start time was scheduled for 7:33 p.m.

Typically, players arrive for games no later than two hours before puck drop, so this traffic snafu severely cut into the Wild's preparation time. But when the action started, the team didn't look frazzled.

Instead, the Wild scored first for the first time on this trip after trailing early in a loss at Florida and shootout setback to Tampa Bay.

Ryan Hartman tipped in a Dmitry Kulikov point shot 12 minutes, 10 seconds into the first period, his team-leading 10th goal.

This is the fourth time in Hartman's career he's hit double digits in goals and first season since 2018-19.

Then, with 54 seconds to go in the period, Nico Sturm doubled the Wild's lead when he buried a 2-on-1 pass from Frederick Gaudreau for the Wild's first short-handed goal of the season and the first of his career.

After that, Talbot shined.

He made 18 saves in the first alone, tying his most stops for a period this season. Talbot also had 18 in the third period vs. Dallas last Thursday.

Some of his best work came against a one-timer from the Devils' Jimmy Vesey and a redirection by Andreas Johnsson that saw Talbot stretch out to get a piece with his pad.

Not until 3:08 into the third period did New Jersey finally get a puck behind him, a one-timer by Pavel Zacha, this after the Devils rang two pucks off the post earlier in the game.

New Jersey had a chance at the equalizer late in the third with a 5-on-3 power play for 1:08, but Talbot got in front of all five shots he faced during both advantages for the Devils. They finished 0 for 4 on the power play, while the Wild went 0 for 3.

Still, New Jersey kept applying pressure that finally culminated in the tying goal.

At the other end, Mackenzie Blackwood made 25 saves for New Jersey.

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