For the first 20 minutes and 20 seconds of the game, the Wild appeared to have all the energy and grit of a sleeping tree sloth. More defensive lapses leading to Red Wing opportunities put the Wild down 2-0. That is when the team awoke from their slumber, found some energy and flew past the Wings 3-2 scoring all three in the second period.
"That's a good win for us," said head coach Mike Yeo. "New guys or old guys, that's a good win for us."
The young guys Yeo spoke of were rookie goaltender Darcy Kuemper who found out he was starting with five minutes left in warm ups when Niklas Backstrom couldn't go due to the flu, defenseman Johan Larsson, who played solid minutes on the blue line, and Jason Zucker, the speedy forward who proved to be the difference in the game scoring in his first NHL contest.
"I was kind of surprised there was no one in front of me when I hit the blue line," said Zucker. "I actually thought about passing to Seto there, but for me, I skate fast and try to get the puck on net. I'm not exactly a passer."
The Zucker goal seemed to give the Wild energy and 32 seconds later, Torrey Mitchell scored his first goal of the year thanks in large part to Mikael Granlund tieing his man up on the face off to allow Mitchell a clear path to the puck.
"It's big," said Yeo about the win. "I'm not going to say this makes our season. We've still got a lot of work to do and we're focused on continuing to get better as a group, but this is huge for sure."
Dany Heatley snapped his nine game streak without a goal with the first tally for Minnesota. Three of his five goals this season have been the Wild's first goal.
With the win, the Wild up their record to 7-6-2 and with 16 points currently reside two points out of first place in the Northwest Division behind the Vancouver Canucks.
The win was the first for Kuemper in his second career start.
Minnesota improved to 4-1-5 in its last 10 games against the Red Wings at Xcel Energy Center.
The Wild improved to 4-0-0 this season while wearing the green sweaters.
The Wild rallied from a two-goal deficit to beat Detroit for the first time since the teams' first ever meeting, December 27, 2000 in Detroit
The team will take tomorrow off before heading on the road Thursday against Edmonton then Saturday against Calgary.