NEW YORK – The doors opened to the Wild locker room after its 4-1 victory over the Rangers on Thursday and players were hurriedly packing for Friday’s game at Detroit.
Blaring over the sound system was an interesting song choice, the 22-year old novelty hit “Barbie Girl,” the kind of infectious tune that will either make you smile in delight or cringe in anguish.
For the first time in a while, the Wild had reason to smile, as they halted a five-game skid, avoided a franchise record in scoring futility and newbie Ryan Donato had two assists in his first game, which came a day after the Wild traded locker-room favorite Charlie Coyle for him and a conditional fifth-round pick.
“It was weird,” Zach Parise said of Wednesday’s trip to New York. “When you get on the plane and one of your guys isn’t there anymore. It’s a pretty difficult situation.”
But it was one the Wild overcame if only for a night.
Parise joined Mikael Granlund, Jared Spurgeon and Jordan Greenway in the goal column, Devan Dubnyk was sharp in net with 33 saves and the Wild were able to stop short of becoming a footnote in the franchise record books for the wrong reason.
Spurgeon’s power-play goal 15 minutes, 4 seconds into the first period ended the Wild’s scoreless drought at 171:04, 9:03 short of the longest scoring stretch in franchise history, set in February 2002.
Donato got his first assist of the night on the play and earned rave reviews from his coach and teammates after the game.
“The one thing I liked was his skill set as far as intelligence offensively,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “It looked like he knew what he was doing with the puck and felt confident doing what he did with the puck. It’s one game, but it’s a good step in the right direction for him.”
Added Donato: “They just said go and play and that’s when I’m at my best — when they have the confidence in me.”
Donato added an assist on Greenway’s empty-net goal at 17:23 in the third. Sandwiched between them was Granlund’s goal, an impressive individual play in which he pocketed a rebound while falling down to make it 2-1 8:41 into the second and Parise, who made it 3-1 at 11:03 of the third.
Parise benefited from an uncalled penalty on Eric Stall, who tripped the Rangers’ Brady Skjei. The puck went right to Suter, who finished off the goal.
“Puck luck, you need a little bit of it some time,” Boudreau said. “I thought we had a little more of it than they did.”
The Wild will take it after their harrowing past couple of weeks. One of General Manager Paul Fenton’s hopes in making the trade was that it would provide a spark for the sagging Wild, which began the night on the outside of the playoff race. Dubnyk said that extra jump could be sustainable.
“This is more what we’re used to doing than the other way around,” Dubnyk said. “The entire time I’ve been here I’m used to winning here.”
Granlund wasn’t as sure as Dubnyk.
“If you really think about it, you just try to go out there and try to play as good as you can,” Granlund said. “Maybe sometimes it brings some kind of jump, but I don’t know if players think about that. You just go out there and play.”
But for the first time in a while, the Wild were satisfied after it was done playing.