NEW YORK – No tweaking looked necessary, not when the Wild dispatched the Devils less than 24 hours before in mostly methodical fashion.
But like he did when he changed the order ahead of that 4-2 win Thursday, Wild coach Bruce Boudreau tinkered with the team's look.
And once again, his decisionmaking was spot on.
"It's nice to see it working every now and again," Boudreau said.
Winger Mikael Granlund scored twice to break an 11-game drought after getting assigned to skate alongside Eric Staal, and each racked up four points Friday as the dynamic duo of the 4-1 triumph over the Rangers in front of 18,006 at Madison Square Garden.
The victory sealed a 3-for-3 showing on the Wild's New York/New Jersey trip, lifted the team into the third spot in the Central Division and secured a season-high four straight wins away from home.
"You always try to elevate whoever you're playing with to help the team get success, and Granny's a great offensive player," Staal said. "Sometimes when you're close and you press, it can get time for a different change, a different look, and it looked like tonight once he got that first one he was really starting to feel it."
Granlund converted his first 16 minutes, 6 seconds into the opening period after a hustle play by Staal. His aggressive forecheck forced the puck to the front of the net, where Granlund roofed it over Rangers rookie goalie Alexandar Georgiev, who was making his second career start.
"He's such a deceptive-type player," Staal said of Granlund. "He can really find openings and find holes, and he can make plays."
It was Granlund's first goal since Jan. 25.
"You get these times that you're not scoring all the time," he said. "You try to help your team other ways. That happens to everyone. Obviously, it's nice to get some offense going."
Before the period adjourned, Staal put the Wild up by two at 18:43 after he finished off a slick passing sequence between him and winger Zach Parise.
Initially, the goal was awarded to Granlund since it looked like Staal's redirect caromed off Granlund's skate before crossing the goal line. But late in the game — and after Granlund appeared to have scored a hat trick — the goal was awarded to Staal.
"I don't think it ever hit me," Granlund said.
New York cut its deficit in half just 2:41 into the second when winger Jesper Fast one-timed a cross-ice pass from center J.T. Miller behind goalie Devan Dubnyk, who posted 22 saves.
But the goal didn't seem to rattle the Wild.
Instead, the team capitalized on the power play with Staal deflecting in a Ryan Suter shot only 52 seconds into the third by Georgiev, who had 33 saves.
This ended up being Staal's team-leading 29th goal, surpassing his total output from last season, in his 61st game.
"With his speed, he reads the game really good," Granlund said. "He makes a lot of good choices on the ice."
The Wild received another insurance goal from Granlund, who slung in a wrist shot off a two-on-one break at 9:22 of the third. And one of the assists came from — who else? — Staal.
"I've put him with everybody, and he's never once complained," Boudreau said of Staal. "He's embraced whoever gets on his line, and I think that's the mark of a special leader."