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Alex Goligoski nets game-winner for Wild in dramatic 2-1 win over Hurricanes

As soon as he scored, the Wild bench emptied and mobbed him in the corner

Minnesota Wild defenseman Alex Goligoski scores against Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Antti Raanta during overtime Nov. 19, 2022, at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Minnesota Wild defenseman Alex Goligoski scores against Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Antti Raanta during overtime Nov. 19, 2022, at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Matt Krohn / USA Today Sports
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ST. PAUL — On a night veteran defenseman Alex Goligoski got honored for reaching 1,000 career games, he played hero for the Wild in a dramatic 2-1 overtime win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night at Xcel Energy Center.

As soon as he scored, the Wild bench emptied and mobbed him in the corner. They celebrated for a solid 60 seconds before skating to center ice to celebrate with the home crowd.

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What a moment it was for Goligoski. He has been a good soldier this season, spending most nights in the press box, and never once making a peep about it. He shed tears as he did his postgame interview in front of the fans that stuck around.

The only reason the Wild got to overtime in the first place came from an unlikely source, too, as center Sam Steel netted the equalizer in the waning minute of regulation.

For the past few weeks, Wild coach Dean Evason has repeatedly hammered home the point that his team is not skilled enough to play cute. As far as Evason is concerned, the Wild have to play with grit before they can try to let their skill shine through.

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There might not be a team in the NHL that follows that script better than the Hurricanes. Though they have a ton of talented players, the Hurricanes love to make opposing teams miserable by going to work below the circles.

Thus, the Wild were expecting something resembling a street fight against the Hurricanes. That’s exactly what played out on Saturday night, as there wasn’t much time and space on the ice.

Minnesota Wild defenseman Alex Goligoski (33) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against the Carolina Hurricanes during overtime Nov. 19, 2022, at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Minnesota Wild defenseman Alex Goligoski (33) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against the Carolina Hurricanes during overtime Nov. 19, 2022, at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Matt Krohn / USA Today Sports

On a night the Wild double-shifted Kirill Kaprizov as much as they could, for most of the game they continued the recurring theme of lacking offensive firepower.

After a slow start to the game, Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho buried a shot off the rush to make it 1-0. Not much else happened for the rest of the first period as neither team seized control of the game.

That trend continued in the second period, as the Hurricanes failed to build on their lead, and the Wild struggled to sustain much pressure in the offensive zone. Anytime the Wild did generate a scoring chance, Hurricanes goaltender Pyotr Kochetkov was up to the task.

After continuing to pressure in the third period, the Wild finally broke through when Steel tied the game at 1-1.

That paved the way for overtime, where Goligoski played hero amid a sequence that he’ll never forget.

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