When you look at the final score being identical to the season-opener (4-3 overtime win, Kirill Kaprizov prominently involved), the Wild slipping by the Kings 4-3 in OT doesn’t seem like a big deal. But, if you want to argue that hockey can be a game of literal inches and seconds, then look no further.

It couldn’t get much crueler for the Kings.

Check out this excellent empty-net attempt, which ended up hitting the post. You know how announcers sometimes say “remember that one?” Maybe you won’t roll your eyes as much after such a comment would end up prophetic.

The Minnesota Wild won this game pic.twitter.com/DT42onPSxt

— Dimitri Filipovic (@DimFilipovic) January 17, 2021


Of course, if the Kings scored later on, or kept the Wild out of OT, then that near-empty-netter would’ve been a fun nugget most — even those watching — would easily forget.

Instead, Ryan Suter reared back on a loose puck, sent a prayer in the waning moments, and scored against Jonathan Quick. At first, it looked like there was just .3 seconds left. It ended up corrected to 1.4 seconds, but it was still close enough to be considered a buzzer-beater (in my opinion, at least):



During the 3-on-3 overtime period, Kirill Kaprizov threatened to create more magic. There were certain flubs from Kaprizov one-time passes where it’s fair to wonder if his teammates haven’t yet gotten used to his sublime playmaking potential.

Earlier in overtime, Kaprizov’s new Wild teammate Marcus Johansson fumbled with a chance. Johansson got enough of another attempt, though, and won the game for Minnesota. Once again, Kaprizov looked like he could be an immediate star after all of that waiting:

.@mjohansson90 wins it in OT for the @mnwild! #NHLFaceOff pic.twitter.com/bAkbCjf6ig

— NHL GIFs (@NHLGIFs) January 17, 2021

Even that overtime goal was by a thin margin. It sure looked like the Wild – Kings OT game would go to a shootout, but instead that tally ended it.

Wow, just … wow. If you’re a Kings fan, apologies. Meanwhile, Minnesota Wild fans must be pinching themselves — and not just because of how brilliant Kaprizov looks already.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

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