An exhausted Matt Boldy nets OT goal that lifted Wild into first-place tie
Winger scores with 1.3 seconds left in overtime.
PHILADELPHIA — Matt Boldy probably could have gone for a line change a couple of times during overtime Tuesday night at Prudential Center in New Jersey. If he did, however, the winger would not have scored the incredible goal that lifted the Minnesota Wild to a 2-1 overtime win over the Devils, and into a first place tie with Dallas in the NHL’s Central Division.
“It’s weird how it works like that,” Boldy said with a smile. “I was able to get down there and get a chance.”
After hopping the boards with 1 minute, 12 seconds left, Boldy twice made the decision not to go back to the bench.
As a result, he grew visibly more exhausted as his marathon shift progressed, looking so dead on a particular back check that teammates Mason Shaw, Brandon Duhaime and Connor Dewar started chirping him, joking that it looked like he was skating with a piano on his back.
“I’m glad the bench wasn’t mic’d up,” Shaw said with a laugh before giving credit where credit is due. “He always seems to find a way to find the reserve tank when he needs it.”
Indeed. Trailing the play after getting denied on the other end, Boldy found the puck on his stick with exactly 6.6 seconds left. He put his head down and burst into open ice unaware of how little time he had before the final horn would sound.
On the bench, coach Dean Evason was pretty sure Boldy was going to be able to get a shot off.
“We looked up just when he crossed the blue line,” Evason said. “There seemed to be plenty of time left.”
There was, and Boldy deked Devils goaltender Vitek Vanecek in front and finished with his backhand. It was a legitimate buzzer-beater, lighting the lamp with 1.3 seconds left. Fitting with March Madness in full swing.
“I turned away after the goal and heard the horn go off,” Boldy said. “It honestly kind of surprised me; I wasn’t sure that there was that little time left.”
Looking back on it, Boldy noted how it might actually have been better that he wasn’t able to take a peek at the clock before emptying the tank. If he did, he might have rushed his shot.
“I had time to make the move that I wanted to make,” he said. “I got to make a read on the goaltender rather than coming in and trying to fire it.”
As overwhelmed as he was with jubilation in the immediate aftermath, Boldy also breathed a sigh of relief, noting that he missed on a pair of breakaways earlier in the game.
Asked about his move, Boldy said, “I feel like I (had) tried everything else. That was all that was left.”
In the locker room postgame, assistant coach Darby Hendrickson gave the speech, joking that 1-for-3 on breakaways ain’t bad.
Though his teammates had some fun with him during the final sequence, they also knew Boldy wasn’t going to be denied after already missing on a breakaway in overtime.
“He’s not going to miss twice,” Shaw said. “Not from there.”
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