Matt Boldy, Marco Rossi and Joel Eriksson Ek scored for Minnesota, which improved to 5-2-0 since John Hynes replaced the fired Dean Evason as coach on Nov. 27. Gustavsson got his fifth career shutout.
“When you’ve lost seven in a row and had a bad start to the year, it’s going to be a long way back,” Gustavsson said of the Wild’s November skid that led to the coaching change. “Since it’s a two-point league, it’s always hard to catch up. But keep playing like this, and we’re going to have an opportunity to get back there.”
Joey Daccord finished with 23 saves for the Kraken, who have been blanked twice during the second-longest losing streak in franchise history. They are one away from matching the franchise record set December 2021 to January 2022 during their inaugural season.
Boldy put the Wild onto the board at 7:14 of the first period. He came in wide-open on Daccord down the left wing with the goalie out of position and slid the puck behind his right pad and inside the post for his seventh of the season.
Rossi made it 2-0 with 7:25 left in the game for his ninth.
Eriksson Ek capped it with an empty-netter for his 14th with 3.9 seconds remaining.
“I think we got tested in the last two games,” Hynes said of back-to-back losses at Vancouver on Thursday and Edmonton on Friday. “We talked to the team about playing more fast and direct, and I thought we did a good job of that. With our puck management, we were able to get on the attack and generated some really quality looks. ... Defensively, we were pretty tight 5-on-5. We didn’t give up too many odd-man rushes."
The Kraken had their own share of quality shots, but couldn’t get anything past Gustavsson, even with three power plays.
“Each one of the power plays, we had some great opportunities,” coach Dave Hakstol said “It felt like that kind of a night against a team that defends really well 5-on-5. We have to start better. Once again, we came out tonight, chasing the game, even down by one. Early in the season, probably of our first dozen or 15 games, we scored first, and that’s something that’s important.”
Earlier Sunday, the Kraken announced starting goalie Philipp Grubauer was placed on injured reserve with a lower body injury. He will be out for at least seven days. Grubauer sustained the injury late in the second period of Saturday’s 4-3 overtime loss to Tampa Bay.
Kraken: Host Florida on Tuesday night.
Wild: Host Calgary on Thursday night.
AP NHL: https://www.apnews.com/hub/NHL
Mark Moschetti, The Associated Press