DENVER — Zero.

That's how many goals Matt Boldy had in February, a lengthy dry spell only a few weeks after the sophomore winger signed a splashy seven-year, $49 million contract extension with the Wild.

As they do regularly with all players, the coaches met with Boldy and showed him instances where he should be shooting the puck instead of passing it.

Fast forward to the end of March and Boldy isn't just winding up more: He's also capitalizing at a torrid pace.

"Everybody kind of took turns talking to him," Wild coach Dean Evason said. "But it's not that he didn't want to. A lot of times a situation like that where a guy's got that skill set, it's a real unselfish quality. Like he wants to pass instead of shoot.

"He gets now that he helps the team a lot when he scores goals, and he can score goals."

After posting his second hat trick in five games on Monday during the Wild's 5-1 win over Seattle, Boldy was up to 12 goals through 13 games in March off 91 shot attempts — this compared with 71 shot attempts in February when he went goalless, according to Money Puck.

"You go through the slumps, you learn what you need to do to score," said Joel Eriksson Ek, Boldy's linemate. "I think he's found a good way to be in the right spots and shoot the puck when he had good opportunities."

What's also been eye-catching is the authority with which Boldy is releasing the puck.

"He's shooting it hard," Evason said. "It looks like he's trying to throw it through the net, which is great."

Of those 12 goals from Boldy, nine were forehand shots including four wristers, three snappers and two slapshots.

A "shoot to score" mentality isn't new for Boldy, "but sometimes you just get into spots and it comes off your stick good," he said. "When things are going well, the puck goes in the net."

Different setup

The Wild played only 11 forwards against the Avalanche with Ryan Reaves and Brandon Duhaime unavailable.

Reaves is day-to-day with an upper-body injury that knocked him out of Monday's victory, while Duhaime was sick. Sam Steel took Duhaime's place in the lineup, and the Wild dressed seven defensemen. John Klingberg returned from an upper-body injury that sidelined him for three games, and Alex Goligoski was mentioned as a possibility up front.

"He's very comfortable playing forward," Evason said.

A healthy scratch for 30-plus games earlier this season, Goligoski has become a mainstay since mid-February, with the veteran rattling off 22 consecutive appearances.

"He's played well," Evason said. "He's played right [side], left. You don't play 1,000 games in the National Hockey League without knowing how to prepare and how to play and play in different situations and staying ready, all of those good things. He's a pro."

Milestone night

Ryan Hartman skated in his 500th game Wednesday, and more than half of those (255) have come with the Wild.

Only Eriksson Ek has played more games for the Wild (270) since Hartman made his team debut in 2019-20 after arriving as a free agent and then re-signing a three-year, $5.1 million contract in April 2021.

"It's home for me now," Hartman said.