Star on the rise for Wild’s Filip Gustavsson, Sam Steel, Alex Goligoski

Two games ago, Sam Steel was skating on the fourth line.

Three games ago, Filip Gustavsson was on the bench as the backup goaltender.

Four games ago, Alex Goligoski was still a healthy scratch.

But on Saturday the three were front and center for the Wild, their handiwork all over a well-timed 2-1 overtime victory against tip-top Carolina at Xcel Energy Center that ended the team’s three-game skid.

“A lot of individuals I’m sure can feel great when they look in the mirror,” coach Dean Evason said.

All season long the Wild have been in flux.

Injuries are one catalyst for the juggling, but another is the team’s inconsistency.

That especially applies to the offense, with Steel the latest to center Kirill Kaprizov and Mats Zuccarello on the Wild’s top line.

“You wait for opportunities like this,” Steel said. “At the same time, I didn’t want to change my game or try and be somebody that I’m not. They put me there to play my game. A little bit of pressure to perform. At the same time, it’s a great opportunity and playing with those guys is a treat.”

Before his promotion on Saturday, Steel was slotted lower in the lineup where he chipped in two goals and an assist through the first 17 games.

Alongside Kaprizov and Zuccarello, Steel almost doubled his output by scoring the tying goal with 2 minutes, 37 seconds remaining in the third period before feeding Goligoski for the game-winner in overtime.

As a line, the three combined for nine shots. Kaprizov had the secondary assist on Steel’s goal to extend his point streak to six games and become only the third player in Wild history to tally 10 goals and 10 assists in 20 or fewer games, joining Marian Gaborik and Zach Parise.

“We saw Zucci and Kirill sharing the puck because [Steel] was making plays,” Evason said. “We talk a lot about the two of them just looking for each other. They didn’t [on Saturday]. They looked for everybody, and both of them had a real strong game.”

What made Steel’s late tally important was Gustavsson’s effort.

After getting scored on in the first period off a blistering one-timer from Sebastian Aho during a 2-on-1 rush for the Hurricanes, Gustavsson was airtight the rest of the way and totaled 20 saves to recalibrate after he was in net for the 6-4 loss to Pittsburgh on Thursday.

This was his second win of the season and first since he took over the crease when Marc-Andre Fleury suffered an upper-body injury last Tuesday at Nashville.

But Gustavsson and Steel weren’t the only ones to capitalize with their profile on the rise.

So did Goligoski, who was under the brightest spotlight.

Idling as the extra defenseman for 12 of 13 games since he appeared in his 1,000th on Oct. 20, Goligoski was back in action vs. Carolina on the same night the Wild celebrated him for reaching the milestone.

Aside from a pregame ceremony, the Wild shared messages of congratulations from around the hockey world throughout the evening. Then came the cherry on top, with Goligoski potting his first goal of the season 1:12 into overtime to complete the Wild’s comeback.

“It was a big night,” said Goligoski, who has three career overtime game-winners. “I had so many family and friends in the building. I was emotional with my family even before. So just to end up like that, it was just a crazy, emotional night.”

The game was also a reminder of what can happen when circumstances change.

“You’ve got to make the most of your opportunities,” Goligoski said. “So that’s what I’m trying to do.”

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