The effort flattered everyone.
Such is usually the case in a win as dramatic as the one the Wild pulled off Tuesday, routing the Canadiens 7-1 at Xcel Energy Center.
But the players with the best chance at influencing the outcome, the ones who take the most shifts, play on special teams or stay on the ice the entire time between the pipes, led the way – an appropriate response by the Wild’s leaders to a difficult 7-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers Friday amid the news captain Mikko Koivu is sidelined with a lower-body injury.
“We take a lot of pride in that,” winger Zach Parise said. “We want to deliver, and tonight was one of those where everybody contributed.”
Overall, 11 different players registered at least a point; Parise had three, including a goal; so did winger Mikael Granlund, and defenseman Matt Dumba scored twice.
But the 29-save showing from goalie Devan Dubnyk after he didn’t survive that romp courtesy the Oilers – getting pulled after giving up three goals on six shots – was arguably the most encouraging display from the team’s crew of catalysts.
“You stick to what you're doing, trust that it works and find if there’s something that's not allowing you to be sharp or whatever it is,” said Dubnyk after making his 250th start with the Wild to tie Manny Fernandez for the second-most in franchise history. “If it's something small, if it's something big, just find it but trust that if you do, if you stick with it and you work at it, that it's going to get back to where it's supposed to be.”
Other bright spots for the Wild included Charlie Coyle’s shift to center, the power play and forward Luke Kunin’s season debut with the team.
Coyle looked comfortable up the middle and helped generate a slew of looks in the first period for the Wild – an energetic start that appeared key for the team on the heels of that Friday loss.
Eventually, during a penalty kill in the second period, he was rewarded with his fifth goal of the season and the second shorthanded tally of his career.
Coyle’s slick backhander rose over Montreal goalie Antti Niemi after Coyle cut to the center of the ice off the rush.
“I just knew Marcus was driving [to the net],” Coyle said. “He was taking that [defenseman], so he was backing up all the way to take the two-on-one. Unless he comes, that’s when you get to make your move.”
Koivu’s absence forced the Wild to tweak its groupings on the power play, and the result – having Dumba and Granlund on the ice at the same time – has paid off.
The two combined for two power-play goals, both shots from Dumba. Overall, the Wild went 4-for-4.
“It’s nice,” Dumba said. “Me and him talk about it all the time, whether it’s 5-on-5 or regardless, I’m trying to get him the puck and get it in his hands and he’s trying to find me. And on the power play, it’s just kind of amplified and it ended up working out tonight.”
In his first NHL action since he tore the ACL in his left knee, Kunin logged 14 minutes, 32 seconds – which included a stint on the penalty kill.
“I thought he played a good game,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “I thought he was responsible. His speed didn’t look out of place against a very fast team. You can tell he’s going to be a good, physical player, but he was in the right position a lot of times as the third man high