The defense still made a significant impact, chipping in two key goals in the third period – one of which stood up as the clincher.
But the Wild’s forwards were the stars of the 6-4 win over the Senators Tuesday at Canadian Tire Centre, a well-timed offensive surge after production from up front had dried up in recent games.
“I was happy that some guys that hadn’t been having too much luck finally scored goals and had points,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “I think it’s always nice when they can gain some confidence by doing that, so that was good.”
Center Eric Staal scored twice, captain Mikko Koivu busted out his 24-game goalless skid and winger Chris Stewart converted his eighth of the season – the first time in three games a forward capitalized for the Wild.
Overall, 10 different Wild players registered at least a point; Staal (three), defenseman Ryan Suter (two), defenseman Nate Prosser (two) and winger Charlie Coyle (two) had multi-point efforts.
In amassing a season-high 40 shots, the Wild did a solid job of making it difficult for Senators goalie Craig Anderson to track pucks. The team crashed the net frequently, setting up traffic and wreaking havoc around the blue paint – a strategy that no doubt helps a team hungry for offense but is essential all season long.
“t’s a matter of time, too, if you keep creating,” Koivu said. “There’s been games, for sure, that we haven’t created as much, but I thought lately there’s been chances and usually if it doesn’t click right away, it’ll come if you just keep doing those things. And we were getting shots through. We had traffic in front. It’s all the little things, the simple things that you really need to do.
“Sometimes you get away from that. You almost forget how you usually score in this league. So when you get back to basics, that usually leads you to success.”
Here’s what else to watch for after the Wild’s win over the Senators.
- After scoring his first goal in 25 games, the game-tying one no less, perhaps Koivu begins to reap more rewards around the net.
“I’m hoping this is a jumpstart for him,” Boudreau said.
Koivu’s lack of production certainly isn’t due to a poor effort, as he put 65 pucks on net during his drought.
Still, despite the opportunities, Koivu felt frustration seep into his mindset.
“If it didn’t, I think you’re in the wrong spot, wrong league,” he said. “Everyone wants to score, especially if you’re playing power play and being in offensive situations. For sure, you want to score. That’s not a secret. So I felt good.”
- The Wild’s impressive 19-for-19 streak on the penalty kill came to an end, as the unit surrendered a pair of power-play goals to the Senators. But it did cut back on the number of penalties it committed.
“We only took four tonight,” Boudreau said. “It was a real bonus for us.”
- It should be easier for the team to marinate in the Florida sun for two days before it resumes action Friday against the Panthers.
Not only did the win snap a two-game losing streak, but it creates some much-needed momentum to try to close out the pre-holiday break schedule on a roll – a pursuit that'll have the players’ dads in attendance, as they’re set to join the team on the road.
“You don’t want to go to Florida with two days off on a three-game losing streak,” Boudreau said. “It doesn’t sit well. I think they’ll feel a little bit better. The dads will be a little bit happier, and hopefully we can continue down there.”