ANAHEIM, Calif. – Perhaps the cure for the Wild's power play woes was with the team all along.
He was just sitting on the bench.
After a line change gave winger Marcus Foligno a rare cameo in the waning stages of a third period Wild power play Thursday against the Ducks, Foligno scored to put the finishing touches on a 3-1 win for the Wild at Honda Center.
The goal came just as Anaheim's power play expired so while it technically wasn't a power play goal, maybe it was close enough to give the unit some positive vibes going into next game.
"I don't understand why I don't get power-play time," Foligno joked afterward.
His tally was one of the prettier plays in a game that didn't receive any style points.
He completed a slick passing play set up by center Nick Bonino and winger Zach Parise, wiring in his second goal of the season.
Before that, the Wild was uneven with the man advantage – a setup the team tried five times. Overall, the team is now an NHL-worst 3-for-50 on the season.
"We'll take anything to get that going," captain Jared Spurgeon said.
Not all special teams was a letdown, though.
The Wild killed off back-to-back penalties in the first period mostly due to a tremendous individual effort by Spurgeon, who was making his return to the lineup after being sidelined in the NHL's COVID protocols and with an upper-body injury.
Spurgeon made multiple clears when the Wild was down two skaters, relieving pressure to help the Wild pass the time until getting back to full strength.
"Spurgeon on the penalty kill pretty much killed the penalties there by himself," Foligno said.
What made the penalty kill even more critical was the fact it preserved a 2-0 lead for the Wild.
Ryan Hartman capitalized on a Ducks turnover to open the scoring and then 38 seconds later, Kevin Fiala pounced on a loose puck in front – the type of goal the Wild has been clamoring for with its pucks and bodies to the net mantra.
"We've talked a lot about catching a break and getting a bounce, an ugly goal, and thought that was one, for sure," coach Dean Evason said. "But every goal isn't tic-tac-toe, isn't pretty on most nights. You see really nice goals around the league, but you see a lot more that are like that. If we can get some more pucks into that area and bang away at them, hopefully we can produce that way."
The win did move the Wild out of the basement of the West Division, with the team jumping over the Sharks because it's played fewer games than San Jose even though both have the same point total (14).
And if the Wild is to take advantage of the games it has at-hand against teams from being idle during the recent COVID-19 outbreak, the team has to begin stringing victories together.
"You have to start going on streaks," Spurgeon said. "You can't win one, lose one. You have to start putting separation between teams and gaining on teams."