Wild.com's Dan Myers gives three takeaways from the Wild's 4-3 win against the Colorado Avalanche at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul on Saturday night:
1. Matt Dumba found his way back onto the scoresheet.
After going scoreless in his return to the lineup against Dallas on Tuesday, it didn't take Dumba long to find his happy place. Just 2:50 into the game, the defenseman ripped a shot past goaltender Pavel Francouz for his first of the preseason.
Video: COL@MIN: Dumba's one-timer beats Francouz
The goal is a great sign for both Dumba and the Wild. He led all defensemen in goals before he went down with his injury in December of last season, and both the Wild's offense and its power play were in much better places when Dumba was in the lineup.
Dumba nearly had another goal in the second period (more on that below), but was credited with an assist on the night as well for his first multi-point game of the exhibition campaign.
2. Mats Zuccarello is a world-class playmaker.
That's why the Wild signed him to a five-year contract on July 1, and that's what the veteran right wing will bring to the mix this season.
His skills were on display early in the second period. In the span of about 90 seconds of game time, Zuccarello created two grade-A scoring chances, one on a backdoor feed to Louie Belpedio that was stopped, and another on a cross-ice feed to Dumba that settled right in the defenseman's wheelhouse. His big one-timer was stopped by Francouz, but he couldn't corral the rebound, which Jason Zucker promptly cleaned up into an open cage for his first goal of the preseason.
Video: COL@MIN: Zucker cleans up rebound on the doorstep
The first play would have given the Wild a 2-0 lead, but the Avs scored off a turnover in their own zone just seconds later.
Fortunately for Minnesota, Zuccarello had more tricks up his sleeve, quickly putting the Wild back in front.
Video: COL@MIN: Zuccarello uses slick deke to beat Francouz
Protecting a one-goal lead midway through the third period, Zuccarello scored himself, exiting the penalty box and getting a chance on the breakaway, channeling Charlie Conway on the triple deke and scoring his first (unofficial) goal in a Wild sweater.
3. The Wild hits the road for the rare preseason road trip.
Exhibition road games are typically one-day affairs. Teams travel to and from away cities in the same day, so morning skate usually takes place in town before the team hits the airport for a flight to whatever city they are playing in that night. Afterward, they return home.
Minnesota will do things a little differently as it embarks for Sunday's rematch between the two clubs in Denver.
Video: COL@MIN: Staal goes five-hole on the rush
After an early afternoon flight to the Mile High City and a game at Pepsi Center on Sunday evening, the Wild will bus to Vail, Colorado for a three-day, team bonding trip.
After that, the Wild will fly from Vail to Dallas for the final road contest of the preseason against the Stars on Thursday night at American Airlines Center.
The game in Dallas marks just one week from the start of the regular season opener Oct. 3 in Nashville.