Kaprizov caps hat trick in OT as Wild beat Blue Jackets 3-2
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Kirill Kaprizov scored with 20 seconds left in overtime, completing a natural hat trick and lifting the Minnesota Wild past the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 on Sunday.
Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 22 of 24 shots for the Wild, who trailed 2-0 heading into the third period.
Mathieu Olivier and Liam Foudy scored for Columbus, while Elvis Merzlikins made 42 saves.
The Wild have earned points in eight of their previous nine games (6-1-2), but their offensive has been sputtering, averaging just 1.7 goals over their previous 10 contests.
Those struggles continued for two periods against Columbus, which has allowed more goals than all but three teams in the NHL this season. Merzlikins blanked them through the first 40 minutes before Kaprizov scored twice in the first six minutes of the third to tie the game.
First, Kaprizov tipped home a shot directly in front of the net to get Minnesota on the board at 1:15 of the third. Then, with Minnesota on its first power-play of the game, Foudy was sent off for high sticking Wild defenseman Calen Addison in the face.
Just as the 5-on-3 was about to expire, Kaprizov scooped up a loose puck in the slot and wired a wrist shot past Merzlikins for his 36th goal of the season.
Kaprizov nearly completed his hat trick in regulation with a breakaway later in the period, but after making a nifty spin move to shake a defender, his shot beat Merzlikins but hit the post.
On the final shift of overtime, Addison feathered a pass across the crease and Kaprizov slammed it into the open net for the game winner.
The Blue Jackets, despite being buried in last place in the Metropolitan Division, have made strides recently. They are 3-2-1 in their last six games, with the only losses coming to the Wild, including a 2-0 defeat in Columbus on Thursday.
Minnesota outshot Columbus 13-7 in the first period but wasn’t able to solve Merzlikins. Meanwhile, the Blue Jackets took a 1-0 lead late in the period when Olivier scored his fifth of the year off a Wild turnover in their own zone.
Foudy doubled Columbus' lead just three minutes into the second when he redirected a centering pass from Erik Gudbranson past Fleury.
Blue Jackets: At Buffalo on Tuesday night.
Wild: Host Islanders on Tuesday night.
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Patrick Donnelly, The Associated Press