Wild.com's Dan Myers gives three takeaways from the Wild's 6-2 win against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center in San Jose on Monday night:
1. The Wild is officially streaking for the first time this season.
They say you can't call it a winning streak until you've won at least three consecutive games. After another impressive road effort, this time in Northern California, the Wild is doing just that.
It was an inauspicious start too. Former Wild defenseman Brent Burns scored off the rush 45 seconds into the game, and for the first time in nearly a week, the Wild was trailing in a hockey game.
But when Minnesota finally broke through, it wasn't stuck on one for long.
Video: MIN@SJS: Zuccarello snaps a shot for 1-1 tie in 1st
Mats Zuccarello buried a pretty pass from Victor Rask 7:04 after Burns' opening salvo. Then, just 11 seconds later, it was Zuccarello on the giving end, setting up Kirill Kaprizov with a sick one-touch pass for a back-door tap-in.
After taking a one-goal lead into the first intermission, Ian Cole, Marcus Foligno and Jonas Brodin would score second period goals, and Minnesota would take a 5-2 lead to the second break.
It was academic from there, as Minnesota moved to 9-6-0 on the season and kept pace with Los Angeles and Arizona in the West Division, who each won their games earlier in the night. Minnesota has multiple games in hand on each.
The Wild will head to Colorado on Wednesday night trailing the Avs by just one point in the standings. Both clubs have played just 15 games, tied for fewest among all teams in the division.
2. The connection is real.
Which one, you ask? The one between Kaprizov, Zuccarello and Rask. It's a line that tallied five points in the Wild's 5-1 win in Anaheim on Saturday night, then managed to match that total in the span of 11 seconds on Monday.
They'd then surpass it on Brodin's power-play goal in the second period, as the defenseman took a pass from the red-hot Zuccarello, an assist that was his third point of the night. Rask earned the second helper of the night and finished with his first two assists of the season.
Video: MIN@SJS: Kaprizov, teammates combine for slick goal
For Kaprizov, he now has 13 points in 15 games, and has been remarkably consistent during the first part of his rookie season. His two-assist night in Anaheim on Saturday quickly halted the longest points drought of his season ... two whole games. Other than that, he hasn't strung together consecutive games without at least one point.
Video: MIN@SJS: Brodin beats Dubnyk with PPG in 2nd
Kaprizov now has three multi-point efforts among his first 15. Rask finished off a three-point night of his own by scoring into an empty net late. He has six points in his past four games. And Zuccarello, who assisted on the empty netter, finished with four points.
3. 'Gordie' Foligno strikes again.
Foligno secured his second Gordie Howe Hat Trick in a Wild uniform on Monday night, scoring a goal, assisting on another and getting into a fight.
Video: MIN@SJS: Hartman sets up Cole's goal in 2nd
He started it with a memorable scrap in the first period against rookie defenseman Nikolai Knyzhov, who quickly discovered that hit bit off a little more than he could chew. Two or three heavy rights from Foligno had Knyzhov's face bloodied and Foligno calling in the linesman to break things up.
In the second, he added the second assist on Cole's first goal with the Wild, one that was sparked by a nice pass from Hartman to the trailing defenseman.
Video: MIN@SJS: Foligno scores to make it 4-1 in 2nd
Seven minutes later, Foligno finished off the 'Gordie' by scoring his third goal of the season, one that deflected past Martin Jones off the stick of a Sharks defenseman.
That goal ended the night of Jones, who was replaced by former Wild netminder Devan Dubnyk.