Jordan Greenway and Marcus Foligno were skating toward the Wild bench when Foligno suddenly congratulated Greenway.
"I was a little bit just confused who tipped it, really," Foligno said, "and then it hit me that it was his first one. So we celebrated like it was an overtime goal."
Not only did Greenway score his first of the season Tuesday, the game-winner that helped the Wild shrug off the Coyotes 5-2 at Xcel Energy Center, but he finished the night with a career-high three points after assisting on two other goals.
"It was great," Greenway said. "I'm pretty patient when it comes to the production that's on the score sheet. So, mentally, I don't know if it was getting to me as much as you'd think. I really focus on trying to do the right things, and whether it's Game 20 or Game 1, I believe it will come."
That performance doubled Greenway's production on the season and although the points haven't been pouring in for the 6-6, 231-pound winger, Greenway has still been a steady presence for the Wild.
"We think it's probably been a month he's played like that," coach Dean Evason said. "He's gotten better and better."
Take the game before that, when the Wild was protecting a one-goal lead late in the third period against the Lightning last Sunday.
Greenway was one of the forwards the Wild relied on after Tampa Bay pulled the goalie for an extra attacker. But the team didn't put him out there to try to snap his goalless drought against an empty net.
"That's not what we do," Evason said. "We decide who we believe is going to keep the puck out of our net first."
That's what Greenway did. He made a key shot block and then dished out a hit seconds before Foligno flung the puck into the open cage to finalize a 4-2 victory.
"When he uses his physicality, his height, his reach advantage, it's so tough," Foligno said. "He's been a skilled player his whole life, and he still is skilled. In this league, you sometimes have to grind it out. There's a lot of big guys in this league, so when he uses his physicality and just plays emotionally involved, he's such a game changer for us."
Wing for a game
Calen Addison hasn't played wing much.
"Maybe for a game when I was super, super young," he said.
And he didn't enjoy the experience.
"I never liked it at all," he said.
But his tune changed after lining up at forward in the NHL.
"I'm not gonna lie," he said. "That was fun."
With forward Frederick Gaudreau entering the NHL's COVID protocols before Tuesday's game, the Wild tabbed Addison — the only healthy player available on the roster — to take Gaudreau's right-wing spot.
The Wild could have recalled a forward from the minors, but team brass wanted to reward Addison. Since joining the Wild from Iowa Nov. 21 after captain Jared Spurgeon suffered a lower-body injury, the 21-year-old Addison hadn't played on defense but was practicing diligently.
"We felt he was an intelligent player that skates well, has great skill," Evason said. "Why can't he play right wing?"
Addison prepped for the assignment by watching video, but the message relayed to him was, "Don't think about it too much. You're a skilled hockey player. You're smart. Just do what you do out there."
The Wild had 12 of its usual forwards back in the lineup Thursday, but Addison earned praise for his pinch-hit effort.
"Played real well," Evason said.
Mats Zuccarello returned to action against the Devils after a two-game absence caused by taking a slash to the hand last Friday vs. Winnipeg.
"It was a fluky incident," the winger said. "Nothing you can do about it. Just have to take the time it takes to heal and go from there."
Spurgeon and Gaudreau remained out.