Wild.com's Dan Myers gives three takeaways from the Wild's 7-2 win against the Ottawa Senators at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul on Friday afternoon:
1. Minnesota ran its points streak to eight games, its home points streak to eight games and got back to an important baseline in its season.
After a dreadful 1-6-0 start to the season, one that is/was chalk full of road games and few apparent opportunities to try and claw back to .500 before the home schedule heats up next month, the Wild has managed to do just that.
Video: OTT@MIN: Zucker scores in 3rd period
It sounds like a simple enough goal, but when you're five games under that mark only a couple of weeks into the season, it's more daunting than it might seem.
But a solid stretch of play of late has allowed Minnesota to get closer and closer. A couple of late blown leads in Boston and New York prevented the Wild from getting there a few days ago, but it has persevered enough to finally get back to even on its season.
Now the goal will be to build upon it.
Video: OTT@MIN: Kunin scores in 3rd period
Home games have been few and far between for the Wild, which improved to 6-1-2 at Xcel Energy Center this season. But that won't be the case much longer. Minnesota has two more three-game road trips coming in the next three weeks before an extended run of games at home commences in mid-December.
Between Dec. 20 and Feb. 15, the Wild will leave the Twin Cities for a total of just six days, a number that includes non-game days. Minnesota will play only four road contests during that stretch, with all four games coming individually (zero multi-game trips).
Video: OTT@MIN: Staal scores PPG in 3rd period
The Wild's goal was to be .500 when that stretch of games started, but if it can continue its current trend, perhaps it can start that two-month span with some extra breathing room.
2. The Wild's fourth line got the team on the board.
Minnesota had a bunch of grade-A scoring chances late in the first period, and as luck would have it, Ottawa would have one mixed in and take advantage, giving the Senators a 1-0 lead after one.
But the Wild continued pushing in the second before finally breaking through on a goal by Ryan Donato.
Video: OTT@MIN: Donato puts home nifty backhander
His move at the net was special, but it was all started by the forecheck of Victor Rask, who pressured a retreating Ottawa defenseman right into a turnover.
With Rask forcing the issue behind the goal line, the puck squirted free to Donato all alone in the left circle. He attacked the top of the crease and made a sweet move to the get the puck to his backhand before picking his spot just under the crossbar.
Video: OTT@MIN: Spurgeon, Zuccarello combine for goal
Donato's goal started a run of them, with Brady Tkachuk giving the Senators the lead back 54 seconds later and Jared Spurgeon, on his 30th birthday, celebrating in style by knotting things up 28 seconds after Tkachuk's tally. The Wild grabbed its first lead on Zach Parise's 11th of the year 2:51 after that.
In all, four goals were scored in a span of just 4:13, with three of them belonging to the home club.
Video: OTT@MIN: Hartman scores in 3rd period
Hartman would add the Wild's fifth goal in the third period, giving the line of Donato, Rask and Hartman five goals in its past four games, which could make for an interesting decision for Wild coach Bruce Boudreau when Marcus Foligno returns from injury, perhaps as soon as this Sunday.
3. Parise's goal was vintage Parise.
After watching Rask and Donato work a beautiful forecheck into a goal on the scoreboard, Parise and Kevin Fiala did the same thing.
Video: OTT@MIN: Parise jams home puck past Nilson
Both players hounded Tkachuk into a doozy of a giveaway behind the goal line to the left of the goaltender, with Parise gaining control and stuffing the puck between the post and goaltender Anders Nilsson.
The red-hot Parise stayed red-hot, as the goal was his team-leading 11th of the season and seventh in his past eight games. Perhaps it's no coincidence that the Wild has at least a point in all eight of those games.