Wild stay alive to play game fiveby Bob Collins, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Faced with elimination from the NHL playoffs, the Minnesota Wild broke open a 1-1 game with three third-period goals to climb back into their series with Anaheim.
The 4-to-1 win over the Ducks was marked by several fights in the third period, after referees appeared to lose control of the game by refusing to call several obvious penalties.
The Ducks have used their superior size and strength to intimidate the Wild in the first three games of the series, but the Minnesota squad shoved back in game four, crashing the goal at every opportunity in a first period in which Minnesota outskated, outplayed, and outshot Anaheim.
But they couldn't outscore them, and after a scoreless first period, it was the Ducks who stuck to their script, scoring on a power play by Chris Pronger 6 minutes into the period.
Catcalls showered referees Paul Devorski and Dan O'Rourke, after Pronger's goal. Stephane Veilleux was whistled for roughing when he retaliated in a skirmish in front of the net after he was punched by two Duck defenders.
It appeared the Wild were destined for another 1-goal game -- they've played eight of them this year against Anaheim -- and an early exit from the playoffs, until Pierre-Marc Bouchard ended a power play drought by gathering his own slap-shot rebound off goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, and firing it past Bryzgalov for a 1-1 tie.
"It's good for our confidence," Bouchard said of Tuesday's game.
It was the third period that turned the game permanently in Minnesota's favor. Just over 3 minutes into the period, Marion Gaborik collected a rare power play goal in the series for the Wild.
"We wanted to get a lot of shots and screens in front of the goalie," said Gaborik after the game. "We needed to step up, a few guys, and I think we did."
Brian Rolston scored 6 minutes later, and Bloomington's Mark Parrish scored a minute after that.
"After that first goal, we could feel the crowd behind us. I was so pumped on the bench I knew we could keep going. Now we have to forget about this and travel to Anaheim tomorrow," winger Branko Radivojevic said.
Minnesota outshot Anaheim 40 to 29.
Minnesota still faces an incredibly daunting task. Only two teams in NHL history have come back from 3-0 deficits to advance in the playoffs, the 1975 New York Islanders and the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs.
Game 5 is Thursday in Anaheim, Calif.