Image courtesy of © Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY SportsIt’s easy to look for the positives in a winning streak. The numbers, the stats that look really good, because most of the time, when you win all of your games, your stats can look really good.
It’s also easy to look for the negatives. The flaws in the armor, and not coincidentally, the stats that show things aren’t as great as they look, because most of the time, when you win all of your games, things aren’t as great as they look.
The Wild are hitting their stride, and we know this because of the process they’re using. Have they been outplayed during stretches? Sure. But on the whole, the results of their games are hardly that of luck and or fluky bounces. The team isn’t throwing the puck around for entire periods, and though it’s still hard to get that full 60-minute effort sometimes, the full on period-long collapses seem to be a thing of the past.
This is a different team. We’re not seeing an emotionally fragile team, who would surrender two go ahead goals to the Canadiens and feel sorry for themselves. We’re not seeing an offensively inept team, seemingly incapable of sustained offensive pressure in most games, and wondering why they can win games by trying to shut down opponents at all costs. This team has taken on the personality of its coach, sometimes brilliant, sometimes gritty, but working class and almost unflappable.
With all of that being said, this team is relying on Devan Dubnyk to save their bacon often enough, but- those games have been less and less frequent as the calendar has matured, and it’s a far cry from the first month of the season where the Wild had no business winning half the games they won. This team has been getting an unbelievable mix of scoring, from every line, and the nearly every defender has stood out this season in one way or another. It’s really remarkable the lack of scapegoats this team could potentially have right now.
So let’s enjoy this. The Wild are good. From the Goaltender all the way the lineup to the guys behind the bench, everything is firing on all cylinders right now. We should be enjoying the streak as much as we can, without the foreboding presence of Januarys past. Hakuna Matata.
It’s important to keep that mindset, even if, let’s just saw, the Wild hit a little bit of a rough patch. If Dubnyk falls cold for a spell, as he did on occasion last season, or if the team loses a few in a row, due to some bad bounces, or just running into a good team on a good night. I think we’ve seen the last of the Midseason Swoons, but you never know. Regardless, no Wild team has been this well positioned heading into January, and that’s something too. A hiccup would be a mere correction now, a five game losing streak would make this team 11-5 in their last 16, which is a carried over a season would be a 110 point pace.
So let’s party. Pop the bubbly, invite the Blue Jackets to town for a bash, and even if both streaking teams lose Thursday, revel in the ridiculousness that those two franchises are the hottest in the NHL. The Wild may not lose a game in regulation in December, and that’s something worth remembering, and celebrating.