Wild.com's Dan Myers gives three takeaways from the Wild's 6-5 win against the Edmonton Oilers at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul on Thursday night:
1. Eric Staal was a game-time decision, then he scored the game's biggest goal.
Staal sustained some sort of injury Tuesday night against Anaheim, leaving the game late in the first period and not returning.
Minnesota didn't practice on Wednesday, but there was Staal, at morning skate on Thursday, listed by coach Bruce Boudreau as a game-time decision.
Perhaps predictably, Staal took warmup, and predictably, he played in the game. The guy just doesn't miss many games.
Following a late Edmonton rally erased a two-goal Wild lead, Staal made his presence count by rifling a one-timer by Mike Smith with 4:47 left for his ninth goal. It wasn't the game-winning goal, as Edmonton scored one late to turn a two-goal deficit into a one-goal game.
The victory pushed the Wild's home points streak to 11 games (8-0-3).
Video: EDM@MIN: Staal blasts one-timer home for the lead
2. Ryan Donato is a guy taking advantage of his opportunity.
With Mikko Koivu on the shelf for a fourth consecutive game, Donato was elevated to Koivu's old spot between Zach Parise and Kevin Fiala for the third consecutive game.
And for the third consecutive game, Donato scored a goal.
Video: EDM@MIN: Donato buries wrister past Smith on 2-on-1
The young winger from Harvard, who is getting time at center, now has four goals in his past six games overall and is up to six on the season after scoring just once in his first 21 games.
3. Shout out to the GEEK Squad.
The trio was tasked with slowing down Connor McDavid, and they did a marvelous job for much of the night. No. 97 had an assist on a power play in the second period, but other than that, was relatively quiet until his late tying goal (even that came with only Greenway on the ice representing the line).
Even so, the group made amends, connecting for the Wild's final goal of the evening, a big insurance marker at 16:21 of the third period, one capped by Luke Kunin off a gorgeous feed by Jordan Greenway. Joel Eriksson Ek was credited with the second assist on the play. After an Oilers goal in the final minute, the goal stood up as the game-winning tally.
Video: EDM@MIN: Kunin wires wrister past Smith from the slot
Greenway and Kunin each finished the night with two points and the line brought energy and feistiness from the drop of the puck. Greenway even dropped the mitts and bloodied Darnell Nurse during a second-period tussle.