Since its inaugural season in 2000, the Minnesota Wild has made the playoffs six times, including this year. Although six might not seem like that many compared to teams like the Montreal Canadiens or Detroit Red Wings, six post-season appearances have been enough for this team to score some incredible goals.
From Andrew Brunette’s series winner in 2003 to Mikael Granlund’s diving goal last year against Colorado, the Wild has had no shortage of highlight-reel goals.
So without further ado, here are the five greatest playoff goals in Minnesota Wild history.
5. Darby Hendrickson, 2003
In the 2003 Western Conference Semifinals, the Wild was down-and-out multiple times in its series against the Vancouver Canucks. Somehow, this team managed to come back from the brink of elimination and win the series, 4-3.
This goal by Darby Hendrickson came in Game 6 of the series, when Vancouver was up 3-2. During the second round series, the Canucks had multiple chances to eliminate the Wild, but just couldn’t manage. Maybe this rocket by Hendrickson shook the Canucks up so bad, they just couldn’t manage in Game 7.
As I’m sure most of you know, Minnesota then went on to defeat Vancouver and move on to the Conference Finals.
4. Mikael Granlund, 2014
The 2014 playoffs produced multiple spectacular Minnesota Wild goals, with this one by Mikael Granlund being one of them.
Down 2-0 in the conference quarterfinals to the Colorado Avalanche, the Minnesota Wild needed a win to get its spark back. In its first home game of the series, the Wild went to overtime against the Avalanche, and Granlund took care of business five minutes and forty-eight seconds into OT.
Granlund battles for quite some time before flying through the air like some sort of goal-scoring Superman and whacking the puck past Semyon Varlamov to give Minnesota its first win of the series. The Wild eventually went on to make a comeback and beat Colorado in seven games.
3. Richard Park, 2003
In the first round against the Colorado Avalanche back in 2003, the Minnesota Wild found its season on the line in Game 6. Facing elimination, the Wild took the game to overtime, where Richard Park came up big for his team, scoring about five minutes into OT and sending Minnesota to Game 7.
Park effortlessly blasted the puck through Roy, and gave the Wild a chance to fight again another night. Park’s goal also led to the game that gave Andrew Brunette the chance to score probably the most famous goal in Wild history (Don’t worry, that one is on the list).
2. Nino Niederreiter, 2014
Are you noticing a pattern yet? The Minnesota Wild apparently plays the Colorado Avalanche a lot in the playoffs. The Wild seems to have a fondness for scoring some stellar goals against the team, as well.
After Minnesota took the series all the way to Game 7, Nino Niederreiter must have decided he was ready for the semifinals because he was not messing around here. Niederreiter carried the puck down the length of the ice before showing off some smooth stick-handling skills and putting it past Varlamov to end the Avalanche’s season.
You can’t deny it; this was one of the best moments in Wild playoff history.
1. Andrew Brunette, 2003
Did you really think number one could be any other goal? Andrew Brunette’s Game 7 overtime winner is most likely the most famous goal in Minnesota Wild history and for good reason. Some people even say it’s the reason Patrick Roy no longer smiles.
After coming back from a 3-1 deficit early in the series, this team proved it was worthy of competing for the Stanley Cup.
In the final game of the series, some excellent teamwork and passing skills lead to Brunette burying the puck behind Roy, and the Wild winning the series to advance to the Western Conference Semifinals. The goal itself is great, but just look at Brunette’s face. That is pure joy.
Well there they are. The top five playoff goals in Minnesota Wild history. Hopefully the next few games against the St. Louis Blues will bring Minnesota Wild fans some more history-making goals, or maybe just a series win.
Alli covers the Minnesota Wild and has been a contributing writer with THW since August 2014. She is currently a journalism and sports management student at the University of Minnesota. For all of your Minnesota Wild news and updates, follow her on twitter: @allibaker23