Mikko Koivu has been one of the most prominent faces in the history of the Minnesota Wild and on Sunday afternoon, he played in his 1,000th career NHL game. Sometimes, these games are just a number, but as the Wild hosted the Dallas Stars, the 36-year old got to play the hero, scoring a game-winning shootout goal to lift Minnesota to a 3-2 victory.
The Wild's win started out slowly as they skated with the Stars to a scoreless first period. Minnesota drew first blood in the second period, however, as Kevin Fiala scored his sixth goal of the season on a power play marker from Koivu and Zach Parise at 12:43. Koivu's assist also marked his 700th career point.
This led to one of the themes of the night as Dallas tied the game just minutes later when John Klingberg scored a power play goal of his own to tie the game at 2 heading into the third period. That score lasted until late into the third when Blake Comeau scored his third goal of the season unassisted at 14:09 and appeared to spoil Koivu's celebration.
However, the Wild went on the power play minutes later and Parise forced overtime with his 12th goal of the season from Fiala and Jared Spurgeon at 17:30.
After a scoreless overtime, the two teams went to a shootout where the Stars and Wild alternated shootout goals. After both teams failed to score in their third attempt, it set the stage for Koivu to play the hero and slip one past Ben Bishop to give the Wild the victory.
The Wild improved to 12-11-4 in the Western Conference with their third straight win and will head on the road for a three-game trip beginning with a game against Tampa Bay on Tuesday night.