Mikael Granlund Jersey

Mikael Granlund opened the season with a trio of forgettable games.

“I hardly ever touched the puck,” the Minnesota Wild forward recalled.

Those days are long gone.

Granlund scored his team-high 10th goal of the season in the third period to lift the Wild over the St. Louis Blues 3-2 on Sunday.

Devan Dubnyk made 29 saves, and the Wild got their fifth win in six games and 10th in their past 12. They completed a franchise-record seven-game road trip at 5-2.

Zach Parise and Joel Eriksson Ek also scored for Minnesota.

The red-hot Granlund has four goals in his last three games and eight in his last 10. His goal with 12:17 left in regulation was his third game-winner of the season.

“There’s some little things I’ve tried to do better,” Granlund said. “It just seems like pucks are really going in right now.”

Minnesota coach Bruce Boudreau knew Granlund, who did not get a point in the first three games, would eventually overcome the slow start.

“He’s our best offensive player,” Boudreau said. “It’s pretty cool. That’s what he is, a really good hockey player.”

Oskar Sundqvist and Alex Pietrangelo scored for St. Louis, which also lost at home to Minnesota 5-1 on Nov. 3.

Granlund pounced on a loose puck in the slot and drilled it past Chad Johnson to break a 2-all tie. Through 16 games, he’s already nearly halfway to his career high of 26 goals from 2016-17.

Minnesota scored twice in a 25-second span early in the second to take a 2-1 lead. Parise pounded home the rebound of a shot by Nino Niederreiter that hit the post. Eriksson Ek then converted off a shot by Jordan Greenway.

The Wild were playing their third game in four nights and have not played at home since Oct. 27. Although tired, the players banded together for another strong road effort.

“Today was a hard game, the end of trips are always tough,” Parise said. “With the travel and the early start, it was a challenging game. But we scrambled and got ourselves a win.”

Pietrangelo tied it at 2 with a blast from the top of the faceoff circle midway through the second period.

Dubnyk, who has won three of his last four, improved to 8-3-2.

“We’re continuing to play the way we have to be to be successful,” Dubnyk said. “When you get winning, and guys are playing together, it doesn’t seem to matter which direction the game is going. You just believe you’re going to get the job done in the end. That’s the feeling that we have right here.”

Johnson, who fell to 2-3, had a string of 66 successive saves halted by Parise’s goal.

The Blues were looking to win their third in a row for the first time this season.

“It’s very disappointing,” St. Louis center Ryan O’Reilly said. “It stings. It’s definitely a frustrating one. We easily could have got it into OT — but we didn’t.”

Game notes

O’Reilly extended his career-high point streak to 10 games with an assist in the second period. Alexander Steen was the last St. Louis player to reel off 10 in a row from Dec. 30, 2014 to Jan. 19, 2015. … The Blues are 15-5-3 in their last 22 home games against the Wild dating back to 2008. … Minnesota D Matt Dumba played in his 116th successive game, the longest current streak on the team.

UP NEXT

Minnesota: Hosts Washington on Tuesday night.

St. Louis: At Chicago on Wednesday night.

Wholesale Minnesota Wild Jersey

Minnesota Wild’s Jason Zucker (16), head coach Bruce Boudreau, top center, and Mikael Granlund (64), of Finland, watch as Marcus Foligno (17) takes the ice against the Dallas Stars during the third period of an NHL preseason hockey game Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017, in St. Paul, Minn.

After spending their entire careers with the Buffalo Sabres, both Marcus Foligno and Tyler Ennis were ecstatic to learn they were being traded to the Minnesota Wild this offseason.

They were tired of losing.

As a part of a massive rebuild with the Sabres, Foligno and Ennis were subjected to competing with substandard teams. It netted the Sabres a cornerstone piece in the form of star winger Jack Eichel, but the he process was hard for players to stomach.

“It was tough,” Foligno said. “We knew we were put in a spot where we didn’t have the best team, so we got trampled a lot of nights.”

“t’s great to be a part of a culture that’s determined to win a Stanley Cup this season,” Ennis said. “You know, Buffalo has been in kind of a rebuild process, and everyone knows they’ve had quite a few losses over the last few seasons, and that’s tough on everybody. … Everyone that plays competitive sports wants to win. It’s definitely nice to be here, where losing is not an option.”

Foligno and Ennis came to the Wild in a June 30 trade that sent Jason Pominville and Marco Scandella to the Sabres. It remains to be seen which team actually won the trade, though Wednesday’s game at the KeyBank Center should provide a good snapshot, as it marks the first time both teams have played each other since the move.

“I’m sure they’re going to be pumped up tomorrow night,” coach Bruce Boudreau said. “We will put them in the best spots available.”

Boudreau said he’s been pleased with the way Foligno and Ennis have adapted to a winning culture. While neither player has stuffed the stat sheet — Foligno has seven points (3 goals, 4 assists) in 19 games; Ennis has five points (3 goals, 2 assists) in 20 games — they are finding niches with each passing game.

“Learning in a hurry that losing is really not accepted,” Boudreau said. “You can’t make positives out of losing. The only way to have fun is to win. Nothing else matters. The sacrifices guys have to make, whether it’s in practice or the game, are probably something that Marcus and Tyler haven’t been used to.”

Foligno said it hasn’t been easy jumping into a winning culture.

“It’s been challenging for us,” Foligno said. “You have to develop better habits, and that takes a while to learn. That was the biggest difference. It’s been great to be in this winning culture, where losing is not acceptable and a lot is expected out of us.”

Foligno added that he likes the way that everyone in the locker room holds each other accountable.

“It’s not like we have guys yelling at each other or anything like that,” he said. “You just have guys letting other guys know that they have to make a better play next time. … It goes all the way from the leadership down to the rookies. That makes the team better.”

Listening to the way Foligno and Ennis talk about being members of the Wild, it’s clear that the struggles with the Sabres have made both hungrier. Ennis was in Buffalo for eight seasons, Foligno for six.

“I still haven’t played in the playoffs,” Foligno said. “It’s been tough every summer to have to go back home early and watch (older brother) Nick play a couple times in the playoffs and see his success. Just in general to see a Stanley Cup get hoisted every season and me not being the person that’s doing it is tough. That is something that’s fueled me and something I want to bring here to the Wild.”