MINNEAPOLIS - Coming off a nearly two-week pause due to COVID-19 issues, the Minnesota Wild is now one of the hottest teams in the NHL.
The Wild stayed hot Wednesday night, racing out to a 3-1 lead after two periods and scoring three third period goals in a 6-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche. The Wild have won four straight games, improved to 10-6 on the season and finished their longest road trip of the season with eight of a possible 10 points.
After having six games postponed due to the team’s COVID-19 outbreak, the Wild were looking up and falling behind in the Honda West standings. Now, they’re fifth with 20 points, and one point behind the third place L.A. Kings, who have won six straight and are currently the only team hotter than Minnesota in the NHL.
"Since we’ve come back, we’ve won games that we needed to win. It’s nice to have those games in hand, but you have to win them. We’ve done that. We’re going to see some really good teams coming up, and we’ll have to be ready for those guys," Wild forward Zach Parise said.
After 16 games and with plenty of hockey left, the Wild is two points out of the No. 2 spot and just three behind the Vegas Golden Knights for the top spot.
"One game at a time, I don’t look at it," Wild coach Dean Evason said.
The Wild has now scored at least five goals in three straight games, the third time that’s happened in franchise history. Parise recorded his 800th career point in the victory, Mats Zuccarello had a goal and an assist and Kirill Kaprizov had two assists in Wednesday’s win.
Since Zuccarello’s return on Feb. 16, he, Kaprizov and Victor Rask have combined for 20 points in five games. The Wild also got goals from Parise, Marcus Foligno, Ryan Hartman and two goals from Nico Sturm.
Kaapo Kahkohnen made 30 saves in net, and made highlight reel saves at times to keep the Avalanche out of the net.
The Wild now return home to face the Kings for back-to-back games Friday and Saturday night. The team’s return from COVID-19 started with several regulars missing and a 4-0 loss to the Kings. Now, they’re as confident as they’ve been all season.
"We weren’t worried. We competed, we competed our butts off in that game and that’s what we’ve done. We’ve got to believe as a group that regardless of who is in our lineup and what given night and what given situation, that everyone is going to pull for each other and we’re going to battle our butts off and see if we can have success on the ice," Evason said.