CALGARY, ALBERTA — Searching for clues to advance to the next location and completing challenges like constructing paper boats is what the Wild were up to on Monday.
Players had a team-building activity a la "The Amazing Race" set against the Canadian Rockies about an hour-and-a-half drive west of Calgary.
"It was a good time," said Ryan Reaves, who was on the first-place team along with Mats Zuccarello, Nic Petan and Joseph Cramarossa. "I'm a little sore, not going to lie, but it was a blast."
The Wild's most recent games have also been adventures.
From the late turnaround against lowly Anaheim to the four-goal, third-period meltdown at Dallas, there's been nothing conventional about how the team is winning. But the Wild are on a four-game win streak ahead of facing Calgary on Wednesday, and the players have built confidence from this streak, their longest of the season.
"Big-time," Marcus Foligno said. "Everyone's really finding their groove and jelling together. The energy is a lot higher. The start of the season has kind of been washed from our minds."
Compared with that 1-3-1 rut at the beginning, the Wild certainly have progressed.
Back then, they weren't successfully rallying as they did Saturday, recalibrating after two poor periods to surpass the Ducks 5-4 in a shootout. The team also wasn't getting in front of the opposition by four goals, and although the Wild blew that lead on Sunday in 10 minutes, they still held their composure enough to eke out a 6-5 shootout victory against a tough Central Division rival in the Stars.
"They're a good team that was going to have a pushback," Reaves said. "Obviously, four goals in one period isn't what we're looking for, but we ended up coming out with the two points and that's all that really matters."
Even with the mistakes, the Wild are still finding themselves in a position to prevail.
Their best players are producing, with Kirill Kaprizov and Joel Eriksson Ek leading the way during this four-game climb. Kaprizov is on a 12-game point streak and six-game goal streak, both tying franchise records, while Eriksson Ek has scored in three straight to match his career high; his six-game point streak is one back of his NHL best.
As for Zuccarello, he's at a point-per-game clip over the past 12 and Matt Boldy has factored into seven goals in the past six games.
But the Wild are also receiving contributions from their depth.
Over the past four wins, 11 different players have scored including Calen Addison, who leads rookie defensemen in points with 14. The power play is also delivering, capitalizing in a season-best six straight games.
The bottom line is, there has been an uptick in offense, with the Wild tallying at least four goals in six of their past eight outings, but their focus is still a stingy strategy.
"We score four or five from that gritty game," Foligno said. "That's the thought process behind it. We're not going to be this team that wants to win 7-6 games. We want to win the 3-1s, but 3-1s lead into 5-1s and 6-1s. You're going to have those great nights.
"We gotta think of just the gritty, defensive style first. But we know once we get into the zone, we can make plays and we can be special down there."
Not since this upswing started Nov. 27 vs. Arizona have the Wild had one of their best defensemen in action. Jonas Brodin has been sidelined for five of the past six games, first with illness and then a lower-body injury, but he's on the road trip and practiced Tuesday.
"Been out for a while now, so today was a good day, be back with the guys," Brodin said after the session. "We'll see what's going on tomorrow."
Injuries are nothing new for the Wild, who have yet to roll out a full-strength lineup, and neither is adversity. Just look at the obstacles they've had to overcome to keep their win streak going.
"We're playing as a team right now," Foligno said, "and it's great to see guys are really fitting into their roles and meshing really well."