ST. PAUL -- Two weeks shy of the one-year anniversary of when Kevin Fiala became a member of the Minnesota Wild, the young forward admits he's more than just a different player.
He's a much different person too.
The 23-year-old winger is on some kind of roll, contributing a goal and two assists on Tuesday in a 4-0 win over the Vegas Golden Knights in St. Paul.
Over his past five games, Fiala has five goals. He has five assists. He has four multi-point games. And he's been a big reason why the Wild has secured victories in four of those five games.
But he's doing all this with a different, much more determined look in his eye. After arriving last season, Fiala looked uncomfortable in his surroundings. With the weight of the world seemingly plopped on his shoulders, Fiala was unable to reach the lofty expectations placed on him.
That's not the case this season. Last week, Fiala said he's determined to do whatever it took to help the Wild get back to the postseason following a one-year absence.
All he's done since is follow through on that statement. And it's something nobody could have possibly expected around this time last year, when Fiala was simply trying to find his way.
Video: VGK@MIN: Fiala backhands rebound home from the crease
"I don't think you can compare me right now to last year," Fiala said. "Pressure now, I take it as the fun part. More as an exciting part. We know what we can do in this room and it's exciting to show everybody."
Where Fiala would have withered under pressure last season, he's thrived with it this year. With Minnesota in desperation mode on almost a nightly basis, the Wild needed someone to step to the forefront and lead by example.
That's been Fiala, who coach Bruce Boudreau called "the motor" of his team's scorching hot power play following the win on Tuesday.
Video: Locker room postgame vs Vegas
"I hope he can be like this every night," Boudreau said. "If he can, then great, he's come of age. But right now, he's in a good place and I don't want to bug him."
As Fiala's game has rounded into form, he's been tasked with getting more and more ice time. He's even been on the ice late in close games, a scenario that would have been unheard of even earlier this season.
By reducing the number of turnovers and increasing the propensity in which he's playing a smart, simple game, he's earning more and more trust from his coach.
Which in turn, is earning him a larger share of opportunities, ones he's taking advantage of.
"His head is in a good spot," Boudreau said. "He's feeling good."
Which seems simple enough, but the proof is in the numbers.
Fiala's power-play marker on Tuesday was his 14th goal of the season in 51 games, one more than he scored in 83 games between Minnesota and Nashville last year.
He's one point shy of the 39 he scored last season.
His plus-2 is far superior to the minus-23 of last year.
He's got three more power-play goals. The same number of power-play points. He's done it shooting at a clip four percent higher than he did in 2018-19.
Video: Eriksson Ek gets postgame helmet vs Vegas
And he's managed to do all of this in 32 fewer games.
Fiala now sits just 10 points shy of the 48 he had two years ago, when many around the League viewed him as a potential breakout star.
After a year of turmoil and uncertainty, Fiala sure looks like a guy ready to get himself back on that track.
"Every time I touch the ice, I'm excited to create something," Fiala said, "and do something that helps the team."
Postgame Hat Trick: Wild 4, Golden Knights 0
Video: VGK@MIN: Stalock makes 26 saves in shutout victory