A sense of urgency to pull into a tie for first place in the Northwest Division?
The Wild started strong as Zach Parise scored just 24 seconds into their game against Vancouver. Parise and his team spent the next 89 minutes scratching, clawing and fighting their way to an impressive 4-2 win over the Canucks to gain a share at the top.
"You could tell before the game that I felt pretty confident," said head coach Mike Yeo. "Just looking at our leaders and our team and I had a pretty good idea that we were going to come out and play pretty good tonight."
Jason Zucker continued his impressive rookie campaign as he took a pass from Matt Cullen scoring with 91 seconds left in a rough and rugged first period. All told, the two teams combined for 26 penalty minutes that came after a couple of Canucks took liberties with Wild captain Mikko Koivu.
"That's ideal in any game," said Parise on the fast start by the team. "You get some energy in the building and that big fight early, it made it a pretty fun building."
As the Wild fans in the 18,846 at the Xcel Energy Center rose to their feet after the first period, the team played one of their best periods of hockey of the season.
Defenseman Jerod Spurgeon added to the lead on the power play in the second period when his blast from the left point beat Canucks goalie Cory Schneider. The Canucks didn't go away quietly as they would grab the next two goals. Chris Higgins scored at 7:51 of the second period, then Henrik Sedin found a lucky bounce when the puck went off his skate and into the back of the net early in the third period cutting the Wild lead to a single goal.
The momentum would quickly swing back the other way. Charlie Coyle handled the puck in the Vancouver zone as the rest of his line mates completed their change. Coyle's ability to fend off the Canucks keeping the puck in the zone was huge. Ryan Suter sent a blast towards Schneider, who made the initial save but left the puck sitting to his left. Parise jammed it home for the 4-2 lead.
Goalie Niklas Backstrom played in back-to-back games and stopped 25 shots in his first win over the Canucks in eight games.
After a slow start, the Wild have found their legs and are getting contributions from all four lines.
"We knew we could grab a share of first place in our division with a win tonight," said Parise. "We played with authority, played the right way and I thought made it pretty tough on them."
The Wild continues their three-game home stand on Tuesday as they host the red hot Anaheim Ducks at 7PM.