Finally, the floodgates opened.
Disregarding the empty-net goal the Wild scored Wednesday against Winnipeg, the Wild hadn't scored more than two goals with an actual goaltender in net since the last time the team faced the Pittsburgh Penguins on Nov. 10.
On Friday, during a matinee rematch with the defending Stanley Cup champs, the Wild, which had scored 12 goals in the previous seven games, followed its Thanksgiving feast by feasting on the Penguins 6-2.
The Wild got so giddy, Zach Parise and Eric Staal spent virtually the entire third period trying to deliver Charlie Coyle his first career hat trick. At two junctures, Staal tried passing through a defender's skates on a 2-on-1 and later basically gave up a breakaway to get the puck to Coyle.
"I think we tried to force-feed him at the end. It's tough to get a hat trick," Parise, who has the Wild's past three hat tricks, said, before cracking a smile. "He didn't want it tonight, though."
Coyle, who scored in the first and final minutes of the opening period, had to settle for his fifth career two-goal game. Nino Niederreiter also scored twice and defenseman Jonas Brodin registered his first career three-assist and three-point game as the Wild scored six goals for the first time since Oct. 18.
"It's fun to play like that," Coyle said.
Parise and Mikael Granlund each scored a goal and had an assist, Mikko Koivu had two assists and Devan Dubnyk made 34 saves as the Wild won consecutive games for the first time since Oct. 27 and 29.
"It's nice to put in three in the first period and at least get a little bit of breathing room," Parise said. "Not going into the third period in a 1-1 game or a 0-0 game, it's a little nicer."
The Wild scored three power-play goals, the first time it scored more than one this season.
The news wasn't all good. The Wild lost one of its best defensemen this season in the first period when Christian Folin sprained the medial collateral ligament in his left knee. He tried to dodge a check from Sidney Crosby behind the net, and his leg took the brunt of the impact.
Folin will miss three to four weeks. Nate Prosser, who hasn't played a game as a defenseman since Nov. 5, will play in his place.
"[Folin's] going to be missed," coach Bruce Boudreau said.
Boudreau hoped to manage the blue line's ice time with another game Saturday, but he wasn't able to once Folin was hurt. But the defensemen did a solid job, limiting the high-powered Penguins attack to a Phil Kessel goal and a fluky one the Wild put into its own net.
The Parise-Staal-Coyle line was outstanding. Coyle's goals 40 seconds in and with 22 seconds left in the first were emblematic of the line's night. Smothering forechecks forced the Penguins' blue line into turnover after turnover.
"We gave them some really good chances," Crosby said. "Not just your typical scoring chances, but some really good looks."
In the second, Dubnyk was brilliant the first 15 minutes. He made save after save to preserve the Wild's two-goal lead before Parise and Granlund quickly extended the lead to 5-1.
Niederreiter eventually added the Wild's third power-play goal. The Wild has six in the past four games.
The difference? "Shooting the puck," Boudreau said. "I keep telling [assistant coach John Anderson], 'Just keep pounding it in them, pounding it in them to shoot it.' And he does … every day."
Brodin was a force in all three zones. He now has 10 points in 20 games this season after seven in 68 games last season.
"He's just brimming with confidence right now," Boudreau said.