ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Minnesota Wild must have gotten confused with daylight savings.
The expression is "spring forward, fall back," but during much of the first period Sunday night, the Wild looked like it lost an hour's sleep, not gained it.
There were unforced turnovers, passes several feet off the mark, sloppy icings and four minor penalties.
But at some point, whether it was induced caffeine or the realization they were playing the a subpar New Jersey Devils team missing forwards Travis Zajac, Patrik Elias and Ryane Clowe, sleepy Wild players awoke refreshed and easily skated to a 4-0 victory at Xcel Energy Center.
Behind Josh Harding's 19 saves and ninth career shutout and the first goals of the season by Mikael Granlund and Torrey Mitchell, the 8-4-3 Wild won for the fifth time in six games and improved to 2-1 on its four-game homestand.
Former Devils captain Zach Parise, playing for the first time against the franchise that drafted him, assisted on Mitchell's goal and had three shots. Nino Niederreiter had three assists.
The Wild got off to a terrible start and Harding, who is 7-2-1 and the NHL's goals-against average leader (1.10), had to be good early. Mikko Koivu didn't take the Wild's first shot against Cory Schneider until 7?1/2 minutes in.
The Wild's penalty kill has been awful this season, entering Sunday's game ranked 28th in the NHL.
Against the Devils though, a team that was sixth-best on the power play on the road, the Wild actually created momentum for a change on its penalty kill. After killing off the second of three first-period power plays, the Wild struck less than a minute later.
Keith Ballard got it started with a headman pass deflected at center ice by Granlund to send Jason Pominville into the zone. Schneider stopped Pominville, but after Niederreiter tried to bank the rebound off Schneider, Niederreiter nudged the loose puck to Granlund, who slammed it into an open net.
Pominville, who had spent the previous three games getting set up by Granlund, also earned an assist.
The Wild was still lucky to be up 1-0 entering the second, and there's no doubt it regrouped. The Wild outshot the Devils 9-5 and extended its lead to 2-0 on Mitchell's first goal.
Promoted to the first line with Parise and Koivu after a strong Wild power play generated chances and built momentum, Mitchell scored his first goal.
But not off his stick. Ryan Suter fed Parise to the left of Schneider, and the Wild vet put a soft slot at the net with bodies crashing. The puck ricocheted off Schneider, off Mitchell and then former Wild defenseman Marek Zidlicky and in.
There was a certain irony. Zidlicky, who demanded to be traded in 2012 because he felt handcuffed by Wild coach Mike Yeo, didn't score a goal in 41 games during Yeo's rookie season before being dealt to the Devils. In a way, it was Zidlicky's first goal for Yeo.
Mitchell, a fast, versatile forward who has been stuck on the fourth line for much of his parts of two seasons with Minnesota, skated with Parise and Koivu for the rest of the game, while Justin Fontaine moved to the third line.
In the third, Dany Heatley, who had one empty-net goal all season, deflected Ballard's shot for a 3-0 lead and 141st career power-play goal. Heatley may have been sparked by getting fourth-line duty because he had his best game of the season.
His passes were tape-to-tape, there were no glaring turnovers and he had three shots.
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