The one with all the scoring
Image courtesy of Brad Rempel-USA TODAY SportsIt may be a fundamental and pretty basic part of the game, scoring more goals than an opponent in order to get the win. That doesn’t mean it’s always easy to accomplish, of course. That’s why we’re all here in the blogosphere.
Everybody loves scoring. Maybe more than Raymond. The Minnesota Wild has put plenty of pucks in the net this season, which is truly great to see. Mikael Granlund finally got himself in the G column Saturday against Dallas, thanks to a nice give-and-go feed from Mikko Koivu. Granny became the 17th Wild player to put the puck in the net this season. Talk about scoring depth.
You get a goal! You get a goal!
With his goal Saturday, Eric Staal put himself into the goal lead for the Wild with four. Charlie Coyle and veteran D-man Ryan Suter are next with three tallies apiece. Seven other fellas have a pair each. Eighteen different players have a goal.
The team’s four-goal effort in the win over Dallas on Saturday pushed the Wild to the top of the NHL heap again in goals scored with 32. The undefeated (8-0-1) Montreal Canadiens and Philly Flyers are next in line with 31 goals each.
Let’s give that a full paragraph on its own to sink in: The Minnesota Wild is leading the league in goals.
They’ve won games scoring 4, 6, 3, 5, 4 and 4 goals this season. What’s great about this is everyone is getting on the scoresheet. For one thing, it helps win games. For another, it gives guys – and their lines – confidence going forward. There isn’t the same kind of pressure to put the puck in the back of the net when you already have a couple by your name so early in the year. We all remember how much Jason Pominville was a focus last season when he couldn’t score.
Zach Parise pressed a little bit last week, especially with the added pressure of getting his 300th goal against his former team in New Jersey. Then he scored two in one game, because when it rains, it pours. (And now it looks like the rain has turned into an injury storm.)
Even tough-guy Chris Stewart has a couple goals this season. That’s a bit of a surprise. Although if he still has the 2 by his name three months from now, that wouldn’t shock me either.
Joel, or however you say his name, is good
Much of the buzz lately has been rightfully focused on the 19-year-old Joel Ericksson Ek. Apparently his name is not pronounced like all of us Americans are used to, since he’s a Swedish lad. It just complicates all the drama that goes along with his nickname. JEEK, EEK, Young Jeezy… I guess I’m going with JEEK or EEK until I hear that there’s an official declaration on what the fan base is calling this guy.
Anyway, he’s really impressed so far with two goals and three assists in five games. It helps to get noticed when your goals look so pretty, too. It’s like how the Wild always want to get that highlight reel goal, which can result in too much passing or bad decisions with the puck. But Mr. Ek made it look good right away. His presence might be pretty helpful coming up, since it appears the injury bug is already biting Minnesota.
Let the good times roll
The Wild ranked tied for 18th in the NHL with 213 goals last season. They’ve been a defensive-minded team in the past, and sometimes the focus can be there a little too much. I like what I’ve seen so far in terms of the offensive zone play, for the most part, driving the net and scoring. Is that a Bruce Boudreau thing? I’d like to think that has something to do with it.
Some of the issues with this team still linger, like with those bad starts which look terrible compared to some strong second periods (or sometimes the other way around). Right now though, with the Wild playing well and pumping the puck in, it’s easy to feel good about where they are as a team.
I’ll take these high-scoring affairs and scoring depth as long as they last.
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