The Wild achieved its objective, winning the game.
But how it arrived at that outcome wasn't to the team's liking.
"We got to play like we want to play in the playoffs," center Joel Eriksson Ek said after Kirill Kaprizov's overtime goal sealed a 4-3 win over the Ducks on Friday at Xcel Energy Center that was covered in blemishes. "It doesn't matter who is on the other side. I think we've got to play with energy and come ready [Saturday]."
That's when the Wild is back in action, finishing up the home portion of its regular season schedule with another matchup against the Ducks. And with Anaheim still sitting in the basement in the West Division, the challenge will stay the same – play with the urgency that matches the Wild's situation and not the Ducks'.
"We had our moments when we played well," Eriksson Ek said. "I think we got to stay playing like that. We can't start doing those things in the neutral zone, just throwing pucks. We've got to stay humble and play the game the right way."
Kaprizov's overtime winner was his second of the season, and he's now on a three-game goal streak. The rookie also has two points in each of his last three games after also setting up the Wild's first goal to set a new Wild rookie record for most assists in a season at 22. Filip Kuba previously held the record at 21.
In overtime, Kaprizov skated through the neutral zone and into Anaheim territory where he caught his own rebound and wired it behind goalie John Gibson just 17 seconds into overtime. Eriksson Ek helped set the play in motion with his handoff to Kaprizov.
"He plays with a lot of energy," Eriksson Ek said. "He wants to win."
Eriksson Ek, Nico Sturm and Victor Rask had the Wild's other goals.
Sturm's finish came during a strong shift by the fourth line, a forecheck-focused push that was an example of how the Wild could wear down the Ducks.
"For our line, obviously, best shift of our game," Sturm said, "and that's when we had the most success. I think that's got to be our recipe for [Saturday]."
The fourth line looked differently Friday.
Zach Parise wasn't part of it, sitting as a healthy scratch. Instead, Sturm worked with Nick Bonino and Nick Bjugstad.
"That was just our choice for tonight," Evason said.