The game-winning goal was executed to perfection. Two passes, one goalie screen and an overtime beauty by Kirill Kaprizov on a four-on-three power play.

The entire sequence looked so surgical that someone asked Wild coach Dean Evason after Thursday's 3-2 victory over Calgary if that was how he diagrammed it.

"I can't take credit for everything," he said, smiling.

Fair enough, but that singular play crystalizes the difference between this Wild team and previous editions that also made the playoffs but got gobbled up faster than a bucket of Sweet Martha's cookies.

This Wild team has bona fide scorers. It has multiple big-time scoring options in Kaprizov and Kevin Fiala. Genuine snipers, not just grinders who rely on grit, grime and puck luck to beat goalies.

The Wild's playoff road map looks daunting. Round 1 brings nemesis St. Louis starting Monday at home in a matchup of teams that finished with the fifth and ninth most points in the NHL.

If the Wild emerges from that steel cage match, the second round likely presents a matchup against Colorado, the top team in the Western Conference.

The Wild will need serious firepower to survive and advance, and for the first time since Marian Gaborik wore the sweater, the lineup makes opponents worry and wonder about how to contain their premier scorers.

Expectations feel different because of that.

Previous playoff flameouts almost always included a familiar lament. Wild players would pat themselves on the back for generating scoring chances but bemoan their inability to convert those chances at critical moments in the series. Some games it looked like they could play until the following week and not score three goals.

The Wild was particularly outgunned when facing those Chicago Blackhawks teams that featured Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa and so on.

The Wild was lucky to have one 30-goal scorer those years. Let's just say the roster was a little light on high-end finishers, a flaw that becomes exacerbated in the playoffs when time and space on the ice shrinks to claustrophobic levels.

In close games with tight checking, teams need a player who can take matters into his own hands and deliver a dagger with the tiniest of openings. Someone who can make something out of nothing. They need finishers.

The Wild has legitimate scoring threats now. Kaprizov had the best scoring season in team history, finishing fifth in the NHL in both points (108) and goals (47).

Fiala finished 22nd in the league in scoring with 85 points, along with 33 goals.

Mats Zuccarello's 79 points would have tied for second-most in team history before this season. Ryan Hartman's 34 goals nearly doubled his previous career high of 19.

This is new frontier for the Wild.

Now it needs to translate to the playoffs.

The Blues have firepower too, finishing fourth in the league in goals scored with 311 – one more than the Wild. This has the makings of a high-scoring series.

The focus of St. Louis' defensive plan will start, of course, with Kaprizov, who gets his second taste of playoff hockey after a pedestrian performance against Vegas last season limited to two goals, one assist and 10 shots in seven games.

He is a magician on the ice with his no-look passes and circle-the-net setups. His creativity is wondrous, and he has that scorer's knack of being in the right place at the right moment.

The Wild's edge is that Kaprizov doesn't have to carry to scoring burden alone. Fiala found his next level as a player this season, thus giving two separate lines a high-end scorer. The Blues can't merely focus on shutting down just one.

So much of playoff success is tied to matchups and scorers finding ways to rise above smothering pressure and still deliver. The Wild historically has not entered the playoffs with a player of Kaprizov's skill. Fiala is on a roll too. For once, the team is not staring at a disadvantage in a critical area.