ST. PAUL, Minn. — Idle no longer after months of patient evaluation, Wild general manager Bill Guerin started to remake the roster he inherited Monday night when he shipped out longtime forward Jason Zucker.
And while he didn’t want the move to be interpreted as him impeding the team’s playoff push, the decision did reinforce the power he has to change what this group looks like.
“We’re in that situation right now where we’ve got to win or there might be more of that happening,” winger Zach Parise said. “For us, as best as possible, you don’t think about that. You just play and play our best and try to win the games.”
Time will tell if that’s how the Wild acts leading into the Feb. 24 deadline, but it certainly carried itself like a team unfazed by the trade and focused on continuing its pursuit in its first chance to respond to Guerin’s maneuvering and message to keep fighting for the postseason.
As a result, that climb got a boost — with the Wild orchestrating a methodical 4-0 takedown of the Golden Knights Tuesday at Xcel Energy Center to reach the 60-point plateau.
Over their last 10 games, the Wild is 7-3.
Goalie Alex Stalock posted his third shutout of the season after racking up 26 saves, but the showstopper — yet again — was winger Kevin Fiala.
He registered a season-high three-point effort, finishing with a goal and two assists to boast five goals and five assists during a five-game point streak.
Fiala was especially effective on a Wild power play that continues to deliver at a torrid pace, scoring a season-high three goals for the second time this season.
The unit got the scoring parade started 5 minutes, 30 seconds into the first period when center Joel Eriksson Ek, getting a rare look with the man advantage, slung in a wrist shot for his first career power-play goal. With seven goals on the season, Eriksson Ek has already tied his career high from 2018-19.
On its second power play, defenseman Jared Spurgeon buried a Fiala rebound at 12:44. These two also combined on a pair of power play goals Sunday in the 3-2 loss to the Avalanche. It marked the second time in Spurgeon’s career he’s scored a power-play goal in consecutive games.
Overall, he has four points in his last four games.
Near the midway point of the second, Fiala had the game’s lone even-strength goal after an impressive shift by his line and defensemen Jonas Brodin and Matt Dumba.
After waves of pressure that included Fiala just missing on a yawning side of the net and a wraparound, he eventually poked in a loose puck at 9:11.
His 14 goals this season are his most since he had a career-high 23 in 2017-18. Parise earned an assist on the play, the 400th of his career.
Before the period ended, the Wild tacked on another at 15:47 — this one a power-play marker from Parise off a one-timer. Parise’s six power play goals since Jan.14 lead the NHL.
As for Fiala, he tied a career high with three points after assisting on Parise’s goal. Since Feb.4, he leads the NHL with 10 points and six power play points.
Over the past 11 games, the Wild’s power play has amassed 15 goals in 34 chances — an impressive 44% efficiency.
Golden Knights goalie Malcolm Subban took over in the third, making five saves in relief of Marc-Andre Fleury. He left after 16 stops. Vegas’ power play went 0 for 4.
Winger Alex Galchenyuk, in his Wild debut after arriving from the Penguins for Zucker, played 11minutes, 54 seconds.