Nick Bonino helps the Wild power play by winning faceoffs, swiping the puck back so the team can establish possession and pressure opponents.
But Bonino has also discovered a niche at the front of the net.
"He's been a net-front guy throughout his career," coach Dean Evason said. "He's committed to doing that. He's not getting out of the goalie's eyes. He's getting in his eyes. But he still has that intelligent mind-set to know when to pop out for a bang-bang play low to the slot or low to the back door.
"He gets it. He's been very valuable in that spot."
Bonino has roved on the power play throughout his career, lining up along the half wall, in the middle and at the front of the net. The Wild has used him as a screen, and he's had a knack for it.
Not only did Bonino redirect in a power-play goal Monday in the Wild's 6-5 rally against the Golden Knights, but the veteran forward was also in front of the net when he scored earlier in the game at even strength, burying a rebound off a Matt Dumba shot. Bonino finished with three points, his fifth multipoint game in his past 11.
"A lot of goals are scored in front of the net nowadays," Bonino said. "So I just try to get there, get rebounds and get screens."
Jonas Brodin completed the Wild's comeback Monday with 1 minute, 6 seconds remaining, but his shot didn't just finalize another late-game rally.
The goal sealed a second consecutive multipoint game for Brodin — the first time that's happened in his career — and it counted as his ninth of the season, a new career high for the defenseman. Brodin had eight goals in his second season with the Wild, in 2013-14.
"I'm trying to work on my offense, bring a little more offense, because I know I have my defensive game," Brodin said. "So I'm trying to create more offense, and I think one big thing is I'm trying to shoot more. I think that's the big thing. I'm just trying to put more pucks on the net this year."
When the Wild initiated a video review of the Golden Knights' first goal Monday to see if goaltender Cam Talbot was interfered with, that was the first coach's challenge used by the team this season.
Evason said there had been a few other instances where the team came close to challenging, but this was the first bona fide opportunity.
The coaching staff gets quick feedback from the team's video personnel, but Evason said Talbot immediately protesting the goal on the ice also affected the decision to challenge.
"If he feels he was bumped, you have to back him and obviously it got backed with the video," Evason said. "But when he was as adamant as he was, there was no question we were making that call."
The Wild was ultimately unsuccessful in its challenge and the goal stood. That dropped the team to 15-for-46 all time for coach's challenges in the regular season.
Playoffs on the horizon
The NHL hasn't announced an official start date for the playoffs, but they could kick off while some teams are finishing up the regular season.
Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reported earlier this week that the goal is for U.S.-based teams to begin their postseasons on May 15. The regular season for the North Division in Canada doesn't wrap up until May 19 after a COVID-19 outbreak shut down Vancouver and extended the schedule to accommodate the games that were postponed.
Hunt on board
The Iowa Wild has signed defenseman Daemon Hunt to an amateur tryout agreement.
Hunt, who was drafted by thwe Wild in the third round (65th overall) in 2020, previously suited up for Iowa for three games earlier this year before returning to his junior team for the start of the Western Hockey League season.
In 23 games with Moose Jaw, Hunt racked up eight goals and 10 assists, finishing second on the team in scoring. He also served as team captain.
Kevin Fiala didn't play, sitting out because of a lower-body injury. Marcus Johansson returned to the lineup in Fiala's absence after Johansson was out the previous two games.