Wild coach Bruce Boudreau worried about it all day.
It was an earlier game on the heels of an emotionally-charged effort the previous night against an opponent the team had yet to conquer.
“And a back-to-back to boot,” Boudreau pointed out.
For parts of the action Saturday, it looked like those factors might conspire against the Wild.
But in the end, the group was able to persevere with a resilient 3-1 win over the Coyotes at Gila River Arena.
“The third period we did a really good job,” Boudreau said.
That’s when the Wild was finally able to shrug off the Coyotes, who not only hung around after falling behind but tied it in a second period that the Wild struggled.
Its lapses were a far cry from the poised play that headlined a solid 4-2 win Friday against the Golden Knights, but the Wild was eventually able to recalibrate even if it didn’t match the enthusiasm that oozed out of the performance in Vegas.
“I think yesterday was such a big game,” winger Marcus Foligno said. “We really needed that one. I think just the crowd and the energy in that building was unbelievable, and that does take a little bit out of you. Coming in here, I liked our first. Just our second was a little bit sloppy.”
Here’s what else to watch for after the Wild’s win over the Coyotes.
The team improved to 5-7-1 in the second half of a back-to-back with this performance, and the fourth line helped the team persevere by securing the game-winning goal.
It’s not unusual for depth players to have an opportunity to chip in the second game in as many nights with top lines potentially having logged heavy minutes the previous night. But the situations they find themselves in can be unpredictable on the road since the visitors can’t always get the matchups they might want.
That’s what made the effort by the Wild’s fourth trio even more impressive.
“We want to be able to roll four lines, and I think that's something we have to take pride in going into the playoffs,” said Foligno, who scored the go-ahead goal. “I think you see every playoff team that's successful, they have four lines that can play. So right now, it's great for our team to be clicking going down the stretch. And as a fourth line, you want to be able to produce and take the load off other guys."
Foligno might not have had a chance to convert the clinching goal if the Wild didn’t limit the Coyotes to just one goal in the second period.
Arizona had ample chances to score more, with the Wild handing out odd-man rushes frequently as it turned the puck over on a number of occasions.
For the team to be able to overcome that porous play in the middle frame was a credit to its perseverance.
“We weren't really quick-manning it,” Foligno said. “We were trying east-west a little bit too much, and they had some pressure. They had some good cycles and things like that, so they got one. [We] weathered the storm, and we got back to work. In the third, we had to throw everything at them and it was good to walk away with two points."
By goalie Devan Dubnyk securing a milestone Saturday, his 200th win, it gives Boudreau the chance to lasso his own accolade Monday against the Kings. Boudreau is one win shy of the 500th of his career.