Following Wild games, Content Coordinator Evan Sporer will give the Five Takeaways that he remembers from the contest. Tonight, he looks back at the Wild's 5-2 win against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena.
For everything the Wild has tried to do the past eights games, in prodding and poking and proposing ways to get out of its funk, the biggest thing it was without on any given night was two points.
But in its first game under interim Head Coach John Torchetti, the Wild broke a losing streak it needed to rid itself of in the worst way, and did so in rather convincing fashion.
"A win is a win, don't get me wrong, but they way we played, too, we have to start building the right way, and we did that," Mikko Koivu said. "We talked about playing a full 60-minute game, and we did that."
Torchetti wanted the Wild to focus on its first period, and getting off to a good start, which it did.
"We got the response we wanted, and we just kept attacking the net," Torchetti said.
He wanted that to build into a strong second and, for the first time in eight games, the Wild outscored its opponent in the middle period.
"We didn't think too much about it," Devan Dubnyk said. "Everybody was feeling really good about how we played, and how we created chances in the first period. Everybody was just excited to go out there and do it again, and not worry about not having a good second period."
Maybe the best sign of the second period was after Vancouver scored to make it a 3-2 game, the Wild responded 3:04 later to extend its lead back to two goals. The fragility that had crept into Minnesota's game and might have caused Wild to bend was met with a response and a push of its own.
"In previous games, we'd kind of fold after getting scored on, and it was like our confidence just automatically dropped," said Charlie Coyle, who scored the fourth goal. "Today, we go back out there and we get that back, and it feels good."
This is an excellent start for the Wild in the Torchetti-era. The key now is to build on it.
"They'll want to be hungry to come out and prove themselves again," Torchetti said.
"But we just want them feeling good about themselves, and then we'll make our corrections and adjustments, and keep on improving and getting better."
There was no microphone on Torchetti as he manned the Wild's bench on Monday, but it was clear he spent the majority of time in his player's ears.
"It kept us into the game; it kept life in there," Zach Parise said. "You're held accountable to make the right play all the time."
To be clear, this isn't to say it's uncommon for coaches to be vocal on the bench, and communicating with his players, but Torchetti was noticeably active to a different degree, making his way up-and-down the line, providing instruction and seemingly keeping the energy high.
"That's what we need now," Koivu said. "We need life, and we need to support one another, and we need support from them."
Torchetti said the Wild needed more energy, both on the ice and on the bench, and he was a spark plug from his position on Monday.
"It's all different stuff," Coyle said. "He's really obviously paying attention to the game, and he's telling us just little bits and pieces that will make huge differences in the game."
While Torchetti tries to wrap his head around what specifically the Wild needs to adjust this final third of the season, he did say Minnesota needed to adopt more of a shot-first mentality.
That edict didn't fall on deaf ears.
The Wild peppered Jacob Markstrom and the Canucks with shots in the first period, to the tune of a 17-4 lead in the opening 20 minutes.
At even-strength, shots were 12-3. That's indicative of a team playing with the puck, a lot, and shooting when in possession, a lot.
"Just the way we worked in the first period, we weren't going to be denied no matter what happened," Dubnyk said. "We played fast, and that's what we got away from a little bit the last little while. We're pretty fast, and you see what we can do when we play like that."
The veterans in the Wild's locker room said they needed to step up, and that it's incumbent on the players to now get the Wild to where it needs to be.
Parise, who has been relentless on the forecheck the past two weeks, cashed in and ended an eight-game goal drought in the first period when his work in the offensive zone won him back the puck. With Matt Bartkowski in possession, Parise jumped him in the circle, forcing him off balance, before an alert Koivu bumped the puck to Parise.
From there, the Wild's leading goal-scorer picked out a top corner and slapped home a shot under the crossbar for his 18th of the season.
"Just to get started in the right direction, to get rewarded for hard work, all of us, we were excited, we were happy for each other," Parise said. "We were cheering each other on, and it made the game fun."
The one facet of the game the Wild found itself on the wrong side of was its penalty kill.
It's been a trend for the Wild since the All-Star break: Minnesota has allowed eight power-play goals in seven games. And for the second time over that span on Monday, the Wild allowed multiple power-play goals in a game.
"We got away from our game plan in the second period with the penalties, and it took away our flow and continuity during the game," Torchetti said. "We can't be giving looks with five penalty kills. Five is a lot. You're playing with danger there."
Considering how dominant Minnesota has been at even-strength lately, it's even more of a reason for the Wild to keep play at five-on-five.