If they could have, Wild players would have suited up Saturday to try to ease the sting from their most lopsided loss of the season — a 7-2 gaffe to the Edmonton Oilers last Friday that made a push without captain Mikko Koivu while he heals a lower-body injury look bleak.
“That’s all the boys had on their mind was kind of redeeming ourselves,” defenseman Matt Dumba said.
But perhaps simmering in that disappointment until Tuesday helped fuel the Wild because when it did finally get the chance to atone, it responded with a 7-1 pasting of the Canadiens in front of 18,681 at Xcel Energy Center that signaled just the team’s second win in its last seven outings.
“Everyone took a stand with themselves and knew if they played and brought their game tonight, others would follow,” Dumba said. “Leadership reflects attitude, and guys just came to win tonight. That’s how we’ve got to have our attitude the rest of the way here.”
The Wild’s most relied-on players certainly set the tone.
Goalie Devan Dubnyk was spot-on, turning aside 29 shots on the heels of getting pulled Friday after yielding three goals on six shots, and the remade Koivu line featuring wingers Zach Parise and Nino Niederreiter and Charlie Coyle up the middle combined for three goals and six points.
Dumba also scored twice, and winger Mikael Granlund recorded three assists.
Overall, 11 different players secured at least a point.
“That’s what we have to do, and that’s what we’re expected to do,” Parise said.
A wave of early pressure, mostly coming from that Parise-Coyle-Niederreiter trio, finally culminated in a redirect by Niederreiter at 14 minutes, 1 second off a Jonas Brodin point shot set up by Parise — his 300th point with the Wild.
“Obviously Mikko’s the missing piece in our lineup,” said Niederreiter, who scored his second goal in as many games. “We would definitely love to have him back. But at the end of the day, you gotta do it with the guys in the room that we have and it was definitely a chance for us to step up and do some good work.”
The offense was even better in the second, racking up four goals in 8:46.
Dumba’s one-timer inside the left faceoff circle on the power play started the parade at 11:11 before Coyle secured the Wild’s fifth shorthanded goal when he cut to the inside and lifted a backhander over Montreal goalie Antti Niemi only 1:22 later.
Center Eric Staal buried a fourth at 14:58 when he put back his own rebound and with just three seconds remaining in the period, defenseman Jared Spurgeon chipped in a one-timer on the power play.
And the team didn’t slow down in the third.
After getting high-sticked by winger Brendan Gallagher, Dumba converted on the ensuing power play 44 seconds into the period. Dumba leads all NHL defensemen with 12 goals, and Granlund’s assist on the play sealed his team-leading 31st point.
Montreal spoiled Dubnyk’s shutout bid on defenseman Jeff Petry’s shot at 2:41, but Dubnyk still assembled a slew of clutch saves — including nixing winger Max Domi’s breakaway look in the third.
His counterpart, Niemi, posted 17 saves before getting chased when Parise added another power-play goal at 6:10. The Wild finished 4-for-4 with the man advantage, while the Canadiens blanked on their lone opportunity.
Carey Price made nine saves in relief.
“I’m glad for the guys that they won a game,” coach Bruce Boudreau said, “but we put ourselves in a position where we have to win a few in a row to get back to where we want to be.”