By: Craig D. Schroepfer (@CDSWCCO)
It has been a trying year for Jason Pominville.
The Minnesota Wild forward had the worst professional season of his career, scoring only 11 goals in 75 games. For most of the year, Pominville had some bad puck luck as it seemed he was unable to hit the net whenever he took a shot on goal.
But with Zach Parise and Thomas Vanek out of the lineup for game three, Minnesota needed someone to step up at forward.
That someone turned out to be Pominville.
Pominville had the assist on Erik Haula’s tip-in at 6:04 of the second period which tied the game 2-2.
At the end of the second period, Pominville gave the Wild their first lead in the series when he followed Nino Neiderreiter’s shot, tipping it past Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen and pushing the score to 3 – 2 Minnesota.
“It’s always good confidence wise. You feel good about your game when you get on the board and are able to produce,” Pominville said after the game. “You feel good about your line when you are able to bounce back and we bounced back after giving up a couple early. It was nice to see that response.”
The game didn’t start out so well as Dallas forward Patrick Sharp scored twice in the first four minutes and ten seconds of the first period, giving the Stars a quick 2-0 lead.
The Wild finally got on the scoreboard in the final minute of the first period when Chris Porter tipped an Haula shot past Lehtonen to make it 2-1.
That goal seemed to give Minnesota the spark that it needed.
“We did a great job regrouping as a team after Dallas scored the first two goals,” Porter said. “It’s not the start we wanted. We wanted to get the crowd into it early. But, I think we did a great job of settling down and getting the fans back into it, letting them carry us in the second and third period.”
Haula and Pominville scored the only two goals in the second period, giving Minnesota a 3-2 lead.
Mikko Koivu’s power play goal at 6:26 of the third period ended up being the game winning goal, as the Wild increased their lead to 4-2. But, Dallas would get a goal late in the third period on a deflection from Colton Sceviour to cut the lead to 4-3.
However the Stars were unable to tie the game as Pominville scored the empty-netter, giving Minnesota a 5-3 victory in game three of this best of seven series.
Minnesota was fortunate to be able to dig themselves out of a two goal deficit against Dallas. They played their best game of the series, holding the Stars to only 17 shots on goal.
For Pominville, this ended up being one of his better games of the season, finishing the night with two goals and an assist.
Game 4 is on Wednesday night and the Wild need to play like they did in the second and third period of Game 3 if they are to even this series.
Sometimes it’s not about how you start the game but how you finish instead.