ST. PAUL, Minn. — Alexander Radulov was at the end of his shift and tired, but he was on the other side of the ice from the bench when he entered the offensive zone with the puck and time winding down in overtime.
Radulov’s decision to stay on the ice instead of going to the bench for a change paid off in a big way for the Dallas Stars.
The veteran forward scored with 10 seconds on the clock in overtime to give Dallas a 2-1 win against the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night.
“It was either change or take that 2-on-1,” Radulov said. “I mean, I should be changing before, but I’ll take that end.”
Ben Bishop made 30 saves for the Stars, and Jamie Benn finally beat Minnesota goaltender Devan Dubnyk 1:58 into the third period for his eighth goal in the past 14 games.
Dubnyk stopped 25 shots for the Wild, who have lost four in a row and nine of 12. Jason Zucker pushed the game to overtime with his 10th goal of the season with 2:03 left in regulation.
“I just looked up at about the 12-second mark and I said, ‘OK, who am I going to put for the shootout?’ Because I figured it was done,” Minnesota coach Bruce Boudreau said. “I mean, Radulov was trying to get off the ice. … When he had the 2-on-1, he couldn’t skate at all coming in there. I don’t know, it’s frustrating.”
A frenzied, back-and-forth overtime finally turned in Dallas’ favour when Radulov wristed a shot between Dubnyk and the post for his 11th goal.
The extra period featured several odd-man rushes. On one sequence, Minnesota’s Zach Parise rang a shot off the post followed by Stars defenceman John Klingberg doing the same at the other end.
“That was pretty back and forth, one of the more wild ones I’ve been a part of,” Bishop said. “I’m just glad we came out on the right side of it.”
The Stars won for the second time in seven games.
Zucker finally ended an offensive slump for the Wild, who have three goals in the last four games. Eric Staal’s shot was stopped and Mikael Granlund tried another one on the backside while falling backward before the puck trickled out to Zucker, who whipped it into an open net.
Minnesota was 0 for 3 on the power play against Bishop and is scoreless on its last nine chances with the man advantage since going 4 for 4 on Dec. 11.
“It was nice to finally break through and get one,” Zucker said. “Felt like Granny, Staal and I have been fighting it a little bit and battling. So, it was good to get that, and we worked hard tonight, that’s for sure. It definitely wasn’t a lack of effort. Every single guy from Duby on out was working hard. Sometimes it’s just not enough.”
The Wild had a four-minute power play after Dallas defenceman Roman Polak started a fight with Minnesota centre Luke Kunin. Polak was assessed roughing, instigator and 10-minute misconduct penalties, but the Wild mustered just one shot on the power play.
“I give credit to Roman Polak because after his fight, that four-minute kill … we were desperate, and we carried it off and now we were in the fight,” Stars coach Jim Montgomery said.
NOTES: Minnesota D Matt Dumba missed his third game with an upper-body injury and the team announced he will have surgery next week. There is no timetable for his return. … Dallas forward Jason Dickinson left with an upper-body injury and didn’t return. … C Jason Spezza returned for the Stars after missing two games with an illness. C Martin Hanzal didn’t travel with the team to Minnesota. … Wild forward Joel Eriksson Ek was a healthy scratch for the second time this season. … It was the 4,000th regular-season game in franchise history for the Stars. The first 2,061 were played as the Minnesota North Stars.
Stars: Return home against the New York Islanders on Sunday.
Wild: Play at Chicago on Thursday.
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Brian Hall, The Associated Press