ANAHEIM, Calif. – The Wild still has one more game to go on this franchise-high, seven-game string of road games.
But regardless of what happens Sunday in St. Louis against the Blues, this has been a fruitful experience and week for the Wild – a result that was confirmed Friday when the team rolled by the Ducks 5-1 at Honda Center.
“We're playing good right now,” winger Mikael Granlund said. “That's a fun way to play hockey. Obviously, we're a good defending team and have been playing pretty much the whole season pretty good defensively. We are playing much better with the puck now and getting pressure on them, and it's a fun way to play. You don't need to defend all night. We are doing a lot of good things. We just have to keep it going.”
After routing the Ducks, the Wild completed the California segment of this trip at 2-1. Add in the 2-1 showing from last week when it went to Western Canada and then St. Louis, and this has been a productive run for the team since it’s boosted its points total by eight.
Overall, the Wild is now 5-4 on the road after starting this seven-game span at 1-2.
“It’s always tough coming out west,” center Eric Fehr sad. “The teams play physical out here, and it’s a bit of a different style of game. I think our team’s done a good job adjusting to it and playing pretty well.”
What helped spark the Wild against the Ducks was the chemistry between Granlund and Jason Zucker.
The two combined for three goals, with Zucker setting up Granlund twice and Granlund also assisting on Zucker’s goal – which nixed his seven-game drought.
“It's just one of those games that it really clicked, and now we have to keep moving forward,” Granlund said.
The Jonas Brodin-Jared Spurgeon unit was dynamic; not only did the duo chip in four points – including a goal from Brodin – but each finished a plus-4.
“Unbelievable,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “When we’re doing our ratings, we can’t do them high enough.”
The effort was the fourth win for the Wild this season in the second half of a back-to-back, a surprising result considering it should be better in the first games. And yet it’s 2-2 in those tests.
“I think a big part of that is we can roll lines, and we’re using everybody out there,” Fehr said. “We’ve got Al coming in and shutting the door for us. We have a lot of confidence when anybody’s on the ice. When you can do that, guys are fresher.”