Don’t look now, but the Wild actually has won consecutive games for the first time since Dec. 28 and 31.
Behind six points from the Nino Niederreiter-Erik Haula-Jason Pominville line, a shorthanded goal from Jason Zucker, a 5-on-3 goal from Mikko Koivu and an empty-net dagger by Charlie Coyle (seven goals in the past 11 games and 17 now on the year, one short of Zach Parise’s team lead), the Wild improved to 2-0 under John Torchetti.
Haula has nine points in the past 12 games and consecutive two-point games.
He was arguably the Wild’s best forward in the final days of Mike Yeo.
“[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.”
Pominville picked up his first multi-point game since Nov. 21, Zucker’s goal was his first goal in 16 games and Devan Dubnyk made 25 saves, including several huge ones.
Besides the strong play of the Haula line, a couple big story lines tonight.
1) Marco Scandella missed the game with an upper-body injury. He was supposed to see a Calgary doctor tonight and Torchetti didn’t have an update, so I’d think he’s doubtful for Thursday’s game in Edmonton. In fact, maybe the Wild would call up a defenseman just to have as insurance because there’s no other D-men on the roster right now.
But the Wild got some real good shifts from guys like Matt Dumba (rough start), rookie Mike Reilly (a couple big plays on both ends of the ice) and especially Christian “Moose” Folin, who had four shots, three blocked shots and just played big all night.
This was an undermanned blue line without Jonas Brodin and Scandella
“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.’”
2) Big response after goals being a trend the past two games. The Wild never got deflated in Vancouver after goals against and didn’t tonight after it saw its 3-0 lead trimmed to 3-2 late in the second period.
Reilly had a good stick to knock a puck off David Jones’ stick, but the puck popped in the air and deflected in off Dumba’s face.
But less than two minutes later, Haula set up Pominville for a big answer back and 4-2 lead heading into the third.
“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.”
3) The Wild, the second-least shorthanded team in the NHL, must be more disciplined. It went 4 for 5 on the penalty kill tonight, seeing its lead cut to 4-3 with 4:11 left. The Wild has been shorthanded 29 times in the past six games.
The Wild wraps up its three-game road trip with its last game ever at Rexall Place on Thursday. The Oilers plan to open up a brand-spanking new arena next season. The Wild is 21-12-7 all-time at the Rex, its most wins in any road arena. The Wild has won 10 of its past 11 games in Edmonton and is 19-8-1 there since the 2004-05 lockout.
Torchetti wouldn’t reveal the goalie. With an 8 p.m. game tonight and 7 p.m. game Thursday, I’d think Darcy Kuemper gets the nod rather than the former Oiler, Dubnyk, but we shall see.
If it is Kuemper, he has given up 11 goals in three starts since shutting out Los Angeles on Jan. 21.
My guess is no morning skate, so I’ll toss up a pregame blog and I’ll tweet any lineup changes and the goalie decision after availability around 5 p.m. MT, 6 p.m. CT.