Wild.com's Dan Myers gives three takeaways from the Wild's 3-2 win against the Arizona Coyotes at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul on Thursday night:
1. Jordan Greenway couldn't have picked a better time to score his first goal of the season.
The Big Rig has been effective in large stretches over the past couple of weeks, but was still in search of the offense that would follow.
With the game tied late in the third period on Thursday, it finally arrived.
Of course, it wasn't pretty. But who cares when you're trying to get rid of that zero next to your name. Following a clean win in the faceoff circle by Joel Eriksson Ek, Jonas Brodin's point shot deflected in off Greenway for his first goal since last March 22.
Video: ARI@MIN: Greenway nets go-ahead goal with deflection
The hope is that it is the start of something.
Kevin Fiala was going through a similar drought until a couple of weeks ago, when his fluky goal got him off the schneid. All he's done since then is score four goals in his past six games, including the game's opening goal on Thursday.
2. Minnesota stayed hot on home ice.
The Wild hasn't lost in regulation at Xcel Energy Center in more than a month, which is good.
Unfortunately, it played for just the sixth time this season and fifth time since that regulation loss to Pittsburgh in the home opener, which is bad.
Video: ARI@MIN: Parise nets backhander for power-play goal
The victory improved the Wild's record on home ice to 4-1-1 overall, and 4-0-1 since that defeat at the hands of the Penguins on Oct. 12.
Eventually, the schedule will turn. Minnesota will play at home again on Saturday afternoon against Carolina, then play seven of its next 10 on the road (surprise, surprise). Finally, in mid-December, the Wild will start to play some games in downtown St. Paul.
In fact, Minnesota will play just two road games in the entire month of January.
There's plenty of business to take care of before then, and Wild coach Bruce Boudreau keeps saying the team needs to go on a run to get back into things. Can a second victory over the hard-charging Coyotes provide the spark? Time will tell.
3. It was a battle of old hockey cliches in downtown St. Paul.
On one hand, the Wild was returning home for the first time following a long road trip. Statistically, that spells trouble for teams. For one reason or another, clubs returning home following long trips tend to struggle with reintegration.
On the other was Arizona, playing for the third time in four nights. Pretty self explanatory. Add in the fact that the first two games of that stretch went to overtime, against each of the past two Stanley Cup champions, games the Coyotes won, by the way. Knowing that, it's not hard to imagine a potential let down.
Knowing all of that, it's amazing either team was able to ice upright skaters, right?
As it turned out, the Wild came out looking like a team rested and refreshed, peppering the Arizona goal with 20 first-period shots and scoring the first goal of the game by Fiala at 14:39.
Video: ARI@MIN: Fiala lifts shot upstairs on second chance
All things considered, the Coyotes were probably lucky to escape the first down just a goal, as Minnesota had a boatload of scoring chances from just around the blue paint, only to see goaltender Antti Raanta keep the puck out.