ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Minnesota Wild just didn't know how to react by the shock and awe of being up three goals.
In desperate need of a victory to stop the bleeding Sunday night, the Wild dug the wound even deeper by blowing that lead on home ice to the lowly New York Islanders.
Facing a team that had played the night before at home and was starting its backup goalie, the Wild fell 5-4 as an announced crowd of 18,851 sat stunned and horrified at the start of a critical four-game homestand for the stumbling club.
It was the first time since Jan. 31, 2012, that the Wild surrendered a three-goal lead at home and lost.
Kyle Okposo, one of three former University of Minnesota Gophers in the Islanders lineup, scored two third-period goals, including the winner past Josh Harding just 27 seconds after Justin Fontaine tied the score at 4-4. The Wild lost its fifth game in a row.
Nino Niederreiter had a goal and an assist against his old team, and top-defense pair Ryan Suter and Jonas Brodin all scored goals to give the Wild a 3-0 lead by the 2:59 mark of the second period, but the Wild took its foot off the gas, had four shots the final 17 minutes of the period and saw the Islanders come charging back.
Superstar John Tavares gave the Islanders life before former Wild forward Cal Clutterbuck catapulted the Islanders right back into the game with 1:02 left in the second by capping a long, pressure-packed shift in the Wild end with a redirection.
After the Wild killed Mikael Granlund's interference penalty, Granlund, Torrey Mitchell, Stephane Veilleux, Marco Scandella and Jared Spurgeon got hemmed in the Wild zone for 90 seconds.
Veilleux was all over the ice, literally, going down to block shots or diving during attempts to clear the zone several times. Finally, after getting the puck in the slot, Veilleux froze as he contemplated what to do.
Instead of icing it and allowing coach Mike Yeo to call time out, Veilleux coughed it up. With all five defenders gassed, Clutterbuck deflected Thomas Hickey's shot with 1:02 left in the period.
The momentum was officially turned, and after a lifeless power play at the start of the third with the chance to regain at least a two-goal lead, the Wild didn't and ultimately gave up the tying goal to Hickey 6:30 into the period.
With the Wild trying to get its game back, Okposo blew a shot by Harding from the top of the right circle with 7:47 left for a 4-3 lead.
Fontaine scored his eighth goal past Kevin Poulin to tie the score 92 seconds later, but only 27 seconds after that, Okposo flew into the Wild end.
He was checked in the corner by Matt Cooke, but Thomas Vanek walked out with the puck and Okposo buried the rebound past Harding for a 5-4 lead.
The Wild fell to 14-4-2 at home and brought in the halfway mark in ugly fashion with a 20-16-5 record.
The Wild, trying to take advantage of the Islanders after they lost 2-1 to New Jersey on Friday, came out firing pucks left and right. It had an 8-0 shot lead before the four-minute mark and jumped out to a 1-0 lead on Suter's first goal in 51 games.
Rugged Mike Rupp was robbed by Poulin from the slot, but Eric Boulton fanned on the clear and Suter potted his first goal since April 7. It was Rupp's first point since March 27.
Brodin and Niederreiter then scored twice in the first 2:59 of the second period.
After Mikko Koivu bulled his way into the offensive zone and brushed off Calvin de Haan's check, he sent the puck to the point for Brodin, who wristed a shot through Niederreiter's screen for his seventh goal. That is tied for fifth in the NHL among defensemen.
Niederreiter picked up an assist on the Wild's first 2-0 lead since Dec. 8 before burying his seventh goal for a 3-0 lead 2:20 later.
But the Wild saw its lead cut to 3-2 by period's end, and New York didn't let up in the third.
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