<!—StartFragment—>The Minnesota scored just once in 120 minutes of ice time during the first two games of their series with the Dallas Stars. <!—EndFragment—>
Returning home to St. Paul after a dismal start in Dallas, the Wild needed a win last night, and they needed goals.
They got both with a 5-3 victory over the Dallas Stars. No goal was more impressive, surprising — even on the replay — or needed than Chris Porter's incredible swing-and-a-prayer deflection at the end of the first period.
Dallas had already established a 2-0 lead, and it looked like the Wild might be beaten in their own arena the same way they'd been in Dallas.
Enter Wild center Erik Haula, who slinged a speeding but accurate pass toward Porter, then calling for the puck by slapping his stick on the ice. Porter's insistence that he was in position to score might seem curious: He had a Stars player perched just off his hip, and was at an awkward angle to the net. Through 17 career playoff games, Porter had only scored two goals.
His third will be a memorable one. With a quarter-second to react, Porter snapped his stick at Haula's pass and connected perfectly, sneaking his shot past Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen.
Porter wrote it off as a bit of luck, telling the Star Tribune he'd just "gripped the stick and swung it like a golf club." Haula was a bit more complimentary: "I mean, I haven't seen a tip like that. It's so hard to do, almost like a wrist shot."
The goal put the Wild back on the right track, but there was still plenty of work to do. A few minutes later, it was Haula who got a chance to show off some fancy tip-in skills, skating right through a Jason Pominville shot and tapping it, sending a wobbling puck through Lehtonen's legs.
Don't feel bad for Pominville — he later scored two goals of his own, the second an empty-netter to seal the Wild's win.
Plus, you know, he's a really good hockey player whose team just got its first win in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and are collectively waking up Tuesday morning as the most popular people in the state.