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Wild finds its blueprint for success in win against Rangers

Eleven different players find the scoresheet as Minnesota snaps losing streak

by Dan Myers @MNWildScribe /

ST. PAUL -- Time will tell if its blueprint is replicable, but whatever it is the Wild did Saturday in a 5-2 win against the New York Rangers, Minnesota will want to summon it time and again over the final three weeks of the regular season.

Like it did in Tampa last week, the Wild was a puck-shooting, shot-blocking menace, taking it to the Rangers in all areas of the ice, putting forth its best home-ice effort in weeks -- perhaps months -- in a much-needed victory.

"It was huge. It was something we talked a lot about; these are do-or-die points for us, every game is going to be like that from here on in, so I thought it was a good effort from the guys," said Wild forward Luke Kunin. "That's what it's going to take for us to be successful down the stretch. We need everyone going, goaltenders going and we had that tonight."

Kunin only saw about half of the Wild's win over the Lightning on March 7, but the half he did see was very much like the effort Minnesota put on the ice on Saturday. 

Video: NYR@MIN: Donato deflects Kunin's shot for second goal

The Wild finished with 46 shots on goal, scored the game's first goal, never trailed, responded to adversity, built on its lead and kept the pressure on a tired Rangers team that played last night in Calgary.

It's a next-to-impossible task, as the Wild found out two weeks ago when it went from Calgary to St. Paul on back-to-back nights. 

"I think we wanted to come out (as) aggressive as possible," said Wild forward Ryan Donato. "We knew they were probably a little bit tired. So we wanted to jump on them as early as possible, and it worked out for us."

Video: NYR@MIN: Donato snaps wrister past Lundqvist on rush

It's a recipe that hasn't worked out well for the Wild this season, which on several occasions has had a tired opponent, in its own barn, playing on the second half of back-to-backs, only to see that foe stick around and keep it close until making one final push late.

No push came from the Rangers on Saturday, largely because the Wild simply wouldn't allow it. 

After Donato scored a pair of goals to give the Wild a 2-1 lead after one, Eric Staal extended that lead to 3-1 after two periods and Jared Spurgeon made it 4-1 with a power-play goal 6:06 into the third period.

Even when Pavel Buchnevich made it 4-2 just under three minutes later, the Wild didn't relent. Minnesota outshot New York 15-11 in the third period despite holding a multiple-goal lead.

Video: Bruce Boudreau postgame vs. Rangers

"I think there's still room where we could improve, but we had energy tonight. We did things we hadn't done. We went to the net really well, I thought. Took 75 shot attempts at the net. Stuff like that where in past games, it might be 40," said Wild coach Bruce Boudreau. "It's going to be a challenge, but we're playing a really good team tomorrow. I think they're one or two defensively in the league right now, so it's going to be a little bit tougher than it was tonight."

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Perhaps nobody was more vocal in his disappointment following Thursday's loss to the Dallas Stars than Wild forward Marcus Foligno. His main bone of contention was a lack of energy in such a critical game. 

Several early skirmishes with the Rangers ensured there would be no such lack of emotion on Saturday, something that played into the Wild's favor. 

Video: NYR@MIN: Fiala records 100th point on Spurgeon's PPG

Not that it had to be dragged into an emotional knock-down, drag-out -- but it certainly didn't hurt. 

"I think it was good for our team to play like that. They're a team that plays a little agitated, too, so they're good. They got a lot of guys that compete hard, and they brought us into the game," Foligno said. "I just liked the way we didn't pass up too many shots tonight. We shot. We drove the net. We played that kind of grindy game, and it paid off for us."

If the Wild is going to have success on Sunday against a defensive-minded Islanders team, it's a recipe it would be wise to follow.

"They win games 2-1, 2-0, things like that. We can't change," Foligno said. "We gotta look at tomorrow and just forget about this. We're playing a top team in the East. That should be enough motivation to want to bring your 'A' game."


Postgame Hat Trick: Wild 5, Rangers 2

Video: Donato scores twice to lead Wild past Rangers, 5-2

Video: Locker room postgame vs. Rangers

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