Wild.com's Dan Myers gives three takeaways from the Wild's 4-1 win against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York on Tuesday night:
1. Minnesota did exactly what you want to a team riding the struggle bus.
The Sabres began the season on an incredible run, posting a 9-2-1 record through their first 12 games. But injuries have been a bear the past few weeks, and Buffalo has won just once in the month of November, posting a 1-5-1 record since the calendar flipped.
How could the Wild best take advantage? A good first period would be a pretty solid start.
Ask and you shall receive.
Video: MIN@BUF: Brodin dekes, buries goal from his backhand
Minnesota earned an early power play and scored a pair of goals in the opening 20 minutes as the homestanding Sabres were booed into intermission following Zach Parise's second goal of the period with just 3.6 seconds left on the clock.
The Wild outshot the Sabres 12-10 in the period, but it didn't seem that close. Alex Stalock earned the start in goal for Minnesota and made the saves he needed to make as the Wild built its early advantage.
2. Stay hot, Zach Parise.
It's official: Parise has gone streaking ... goal streaking, that is. His tally 7:14 into the game capped a pretty 2-on-1 rush with Joel Eriksson Ek and came moments after Parise forced a turnover at center ice, a play which spurred the rush to begin with.
Video: MIN@BUF: Parise buries feed from Eriksson Ek
After knocking the puck off the stick of Eden Prairie native Casey Mittelstadt, Parise 180'd and headed straight for the front of the net. Eriksson Ek gathered it in and carried it into the zone, saucing a nice pass over a defenseman's stick and right onto Parise's blade for a quick one-timer past goaltender Linus Ullmark.
But Parise wasn't done.
With Minnesota on the power play late in the period, Parise deflected a point shot by Ryan Suter past Ullmark for his second of the contest and fourth in the past three games.
Video: MIN@BUF: Parise tips home power-play goal in front
Parise scored just once during a 10-game stretch between Oct. 22 and Nov. 12, but has now scored at least one goal in three-straight. He's also done it every which way, scoring one at even strength, two on the power play and one shorthanded, his first shorty in more than five years.
Parise had two three-game goal streaks last season; one in November and the other to close out December and open January.
3. Stalock was good when he needed to be.
Making his eighth start of the campaign, Stalock has been victorious now in half of those contests. He came within 3:49 of his second shutout of the season, ceding a goal to Brandon Montour late. Stalock finished the game with 30 saves.
Buffalo tried to make it a one-goal game after that, but Jason Zucker iced things with an empty-net goal with just over two minutes left.