CALGARY, ALBERTA – Just in case his old pal, John Torchetti, was walking with too much of a strut in his step after a victory in his Wild coaching debut Monday in Vancouver, Hall of Famer Denis Savard sent a message Torch’s way: “One win doesn’t make a year.”
Neither does two. But when you haven’t won consecutive games in 2016, it probably felt that way Wednesday night when the Wild beat Calgary 5-3 for its first winning streak since Dec. 28 and 31.
“We weren’t that far off, but at the key moments in games, we weren’t finding ways to win. Now we are,” right winger Jason Pominville said. “We’ve got to keep it going and keep this streak alive.”
Two nights after Torchetti unveiled a new third line of Nino Niederreiter, Erik Haula and Pominville, the trio combined for six points. Pominville scored a goal and added an assist for his first multipoint game since Nov. 21, and Haula had a goal and an assist for his second consecutive multipoint game. Jason Zucker scored shorthanded, Mikko Koivu on the power play and Charlie Coyle added an empty-netter. Devan Dubnyk, who grew up in Calgary, made 25 saves as the Wild improved to 2-0 under Torchetti.
“Duby was really big, man,” Torchetti said.
Minnesota, which wraps up its three-game trip Thursday in Edmonton, moved within two points of idle Nashville for a playoff spot and remained four points back of Colorado.
“It’s a good win. Any win on the road is a good win,” Torchetti said.
The Haula line was solid. With the Wild off to a slow start and looking like “we left our legs in Vancouver,” Torchetti said, Haula got things started with his sixth goal. Pominville won a faceoff, Niederreiter spun down low and Pominville set Haula up between the circles after Niederreiter was bumped off the puck.
After a great defensive play by Nate Prosser, Zucker made it 2-0 shorthanded in the final seconds of the period with his first goal in 16 games, then Koivu scored on a 5-on-3 early in the second to make it 3-0.
But a bad shift by the Wild’s top line led to Deryk Engelland’s goal, then David Jones scored as fluky a goal as you can imagine. Mike Reilly knocked the puck away from Jones, but it deflected off Matt Dumba’s face and in.
“It looked like a game [at a museum] with one of those things with the rolling ball or something,” Torchetti said. “What are you doing to do? You deal with it, and you move on. You can’t let one goal ruin the whole night.”
Less than two minutes later, the Wild answered when Pominville one-timed Haula’s pass from the slot for a 4-2 lead. It continued a trend of good responses after goals-against the past two games.
“No one’s been sulking [anymore after goals],” said Zach Parise, who had two assists to reach 601 career points.
Haula has nine points in the past 12 games.
“[Fired coach Mike Yeo] gave me that chance again, and he gave me lots of chances,” Haula said. “I feel about as good as I did in the  playoffs. The thinking’s out the window. Just playing hockey and trying to do the right things. All the bad thoughts in the back of my head are leaving and the confidence is kicking in.”
The Wild was shorthanded three times in the third period (29 times the past six games) and gave up a Mikael Backlund goal with 4:11 left but hung on.
The Wild, already without Jonas Brodin, was playing without Marco Scandella, who has an upper-body injury. But Reilly and Christian Folin were outstanding. Folin, whom Torchetti calls “Moose,” played 20 minutes, had four shots and three blocked shots.
“We talked to them before the game,” Torchetti said. “You know, this is their time. Marco wasn’t in, so, ‘Here you go, this is what you want. Take advantage of your opportunity.’ ”