Wild.com's Dan Myers gives three takeaways from the Wild's 7-1 win against the Detroit Red Wings at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit on Thursday night:
1. Minnesota left no doubt.
Detroit has the fewest points in the NHL and it's not close. The Red Wings entered the night with just 34 points, 16 fewer than the next worst team in the League.
Typically, these games can present all kinds of challenges for the visiting team. Players look at the standings, no matter what they may or may not say publicly. They know how good teams are, and Detroit, with all due respect, is not a good team right now.
The Wild was also playing the front half of back-to-back games, the second of which on Friday, comes against a much better opponent.
But to Minnesota's credit, it kept its focus squarely on the Red Wings, came into Detroit and easily rolled out with two points.
Video: MIN@DET: Dumba hammers home one-timer through traffic
The Wild scored three times each in the first and second periods to build a 6-1 lead after 40 minutes. It scored on back-to-back shifts early in the game to let the Red Wings know it meant business.
Even after Detroit scored 7:33 into the second period, a goal which got the Red Wings within two, Minnesota pushed its lead back to three less than three minutes later ... then quickly made it four .... then made it five.
All in all, as thorough a game as Minnesota has played in a while, albeit against a team that is clearly in rebuild mode. Still, two points is two points.
2. Ryan Donato was on the receiving end of the Rink Report bump.
If you tuned into Ryan Carter and myself earlier in the day on Thursday, you learned that Donato is one of the NHL's most efficient goal scorers. He entered the night with just 12 goals, but he's averaged 1.36 goals per 60 minutes, a number which is better than Artemi Panarin, Brad Marchand and Nikita Kucherov, among others, and ranked 12th League-wide among players who have skated in at least 20 games.
Video: Rink Report: Wild at Red Wings
That's because, while he may only play 10 or 11 minutes most nights, Donato has consistently provided offense.
That happened again on Thursday, when Donato made it 2-0 8:19 into the game, just 27 seconds after linemate Ryan Hartman opened scoring -- a goal Donato also earned an assist on.
Video: MIN@DET: Donato buries loose puck from the slot
Donato now has 13 goals on the season, tied with Luke Kunin for fifth-most on the team, despite the fact he's missed seven games with various healthy scratches. And while he's been in and out of the lineup this season, Donato is making it harder and harder to be taken out of the lineup, simply because he's providing so much offense.
Video: MIN@DET: Hartman buries return feed from Koivu
Not to be forgotten: the play of the Wild's "fourth line." One game after it accounted for three of Minnesota's five goals against Columbus on Tuesday, it scored the team's first two goals of the night on Thursday.
3. Minnesota had a couple of notable goals.
Matt Dumba scored twice, including once on the power play, after entering the game with just four goals this season. If the Wild can get Dumba going from the back end, watch out.
Video: MIN@DET: Dumba buries one-timer for PPG
Jordan Greenway was doing Jordan Greenway things in the second period when he made it 5-1 with his eighth goal of the season. The "Big Rig," playing in front of his billet family, fought off three men along the wall and kept on trucking towards the front of the net, flipping a nasty little forehand shot short side past Jimmy Howard that ended the latter's evening.
Video: MIN@DET: Greenway puts home short-side wrist shot
Then there was Kevin Fiala, who made it 6-1 with under two minutes to play in the second, toe-dragging around a defenseman then roofing a backhander past new goaltender Jonathan Bernier. This goal was an absolute thing of beauty and showed just what kind of player Fiala can be/is turning into.
Video: MIN@DET: Fiala betas Bernier with nifty backhander
Dumba and Fiala, who each assisted on Eric Staal's third-period goal, both finished the night with three points.