Center Matt Cullen wasn’t just the oldest player on the ice Friday.
He was also arguably the best, embodying the workmanlike effort the Wild needed to finally shrug off the Canucks 5-2 at Rogers Arena after falling to the team in its previous two matchups.
“His line was really good,” center Eric Staal said. “They could have had a couple more. They had a lot of looks and were really solid the whole night. It was nice. It was nice to see because you need those, especially on the road. You need everybody contributing, and his line was solid tonight.”
Cullen registered a game-high and season-high seven shots on goal. Overall, his line with wingers Tyler Ennis and Charlie Coyle racked up five points, with Cullen scoring his 10th of the season to reach that plateau for the 16th time in his career. He also added an assist.
“I think with the three players that we have on our line if we spend time in the offensive zone, good things are going to happen,” Cullen said. “Charlie’s such a unique player with the size and skill set he has, and Enzo’s so shifty and quick. He finds space and has such a good offensive mind, I think, and instincts for the net. So I think it just fits pretty good for our line.”
Here’s what else to watch for after the Wild’s win over the Canucks.
- Coach Bruce Boudreau was still going to think over his plan for the Wild’s net Saturday against the Oilers, but Devan Dubnyk said he could handle the task if asked after his 30-save effort against the Canucks that earned him his 30th win of the season.
“I’ve played lots of back-to-backs,” he said. “We’ll see what happens.”
- Staal remains in the running for the NHL’s Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy as the league’s top goal scorer after adding another tally Friday – his 37th. Only the Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin (40), Jets’ Patrik Laine (39) and Penguins’ Evgeni Malkin (38) have more goals than Staal.
- Goals continue to pour in from throughout the lineup.
After winger Marcus Foligno scored in the game’s final minute, it ensured each line chipped in a goal and 12 players in total tallied at least a point.
“Especially on the road, you need to have everybody going,” Staal said. “If we can get a good vibe throughout our lineup with guys contributing on the nights that we need, it’s big.”