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Stadium Series

Wild's Pominville surging under Torchetti

Forward has a goal in three of four games under new coach

by Dan Myers / Correspondent

Pominville lights the lamp

CHI@MIN: Pominville lasers the puck for a 4-0 lead

2/21/16: Jason Pominville hammers a slap shot past the glove of Corey Crawford to put the Wild up by four goals in the 2nd

  • 00:49 •

MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Wild forward Jason Pominville continued his scoring surge Sunday with a goal and two assists in a 6-1 win against the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2016 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series at TCF Bank Stadium.

Eight days ago, Pominville had six goals through 55 games, and some were questioning how a player who scored 30 in 2013-14 could fall so far, so fast.

On pace for the fewest goals in a full season during his 12-year NHL career and the fewest points since his rookie season in 2005-06, when he played 57 games, Pominville was even demoted to the fourth line during the final days of Mike Yeo's tenure as coach.

What a difference a week makes.

Pominville has scored a goal in three consecutive games for the first time since Feb. 9-12, 2015, and on Sunday he had his first three-point game since Jan. 15, 2015.

"I was just thinking too much and not going out there and playing," Pominville said. "I just said, 'Go out there and play and have fun,' and that's what I've been doing."

Pominville and linemates Erik Haula and Nino Niederreiter have played prominent roles in the Wild's four-game winning streak since John Torchetti replaced Yeo as coach after a 4-2 loss to the Boston Bruins on Feb. 13. They combined for three goals and eight points Sunday to help the Wild extend their own record of scoring at least five goals to four games.

Torchetti has tried to downplay his impact on Minnesota, which had lost 13 of 14 games when he took over, but there's little doubt the Wild have heeded his insistence to play with more jam in front of the net and get pucks at opposing goaltenders.

That approach has benefited Pominville, who has scored 20 or more goals in seven seasons in his NHL career, including three with 30 or more.

Video: Jason Pominville joins Jamie Hersch on NHL Tonight

"He's stepped in and given us more freedom to make plays offensively and came in with some new ideas," Pominville said of Torchetti. "It's created a spark for our team, and you've seen it with a lot of guys getting on the score sheet."

Though Torchetti has encouraged his young players to take on more of a leadership role, he has reinforced with his veterans how important it is that they realize their full potential.

With the 2016 NHL Trade Deadline on Feb. 29, getting increased production from Pominville and wing Thomas Vanek would be akin to trading for proven scorers without giving up an asset.

"Pominville has scored before, Vanek has scored before, so just work with them a little bit on the side 1-on-1 and try to create that feeling that, 'We're going to count on you,'" Torchetti said. "Those are the guys that, if they build that confidence moving forward, they should be really good quick fixes.

"They've done it before, it's not like I'm taking a guy that's only averaged maybe five goals a year. These guys have done it before, so we just have to make sure that we keep talking to them and understanding what their role is."

In doing that, Torchetti has put players like Pominville in position to succeed. That comfort level has translated to production on the ice, including for the Wild power play, which has at least one goal in each game under Torchetti. Pominville has two points with the man-advantage in the past three games, a quarter of his season total of eight.

"I've played in different positions this year, positions that, to be honest, I've never really played," Pominville said. "I started the year net front, and then was half wall for a little while, and now I'm back to [the point], where I've pretty much played since I've been pro.

"[Torchetti] also came up with some new ideas to create more offense, which has helped us. It's kind of given us the green light to make plays offensively, whether you're behind the net in the offensive zone, you can make plays as long as you come back and defend."

Now, Pominville will try to keep it going down the stretch.

"Our line has been playing with confidence," Pominville said. "Confidence is a big part of the game. … When you get it, a lot of good things can happen, and when you don't, you can go through tougher stretches. We're feeling it right now, both personally and as a team."

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