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Amateur Hockey Talk Yesterday, 06:33 PM
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Winning makes everything better

Originally, I thought about writing a piece about high school hockey. But when the Wild win five in a row, I suppose I’d be doing a disservice if I didn’t write about these suddenly red-hot men in green and red. The Minnesota Wild are 16-8-4 overall, that includes three one-goal victories in the latest winning streak, an overtime win in Edmonton and a shootout (that probably went too many rounds) against Edmonton in St. Paul.
Image courtesy of © Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Times are good for the Wild. We need to be more positive when these situations present themselves. The other part of me is waiting for the other shoe to drop because, well, a tough schedule and the month of January are coming up. Deep breaths.

Here are a few things that are going well lately:

Devan Dubnyk
You’re welcome, captain obvious.

Duby is simply on top of his game. He leads the NHL’s goaltending regulars in save percentage at .947 and GAA at 1.60. As much as I don’t like the “DOOOOB!” chant at the X for some of those routine saves, he deserves the love. Take the game against the Maple Leafs that the Wild won 2-1. Dubnyk pretty much single-handedly won the game, with 35 saves and 17 of those in the third period alone.

Another thing that’s been refreshing is not only is he not giving up many goals, but he’s not giving up the softies, either. (Thanks to Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune for reminding me.) That was one of his major flaws last season. It was almost like the Wild were always in a 1-0 hole from the start.

One-goal wins
It’s encouraging that the Wild are winning some one-goal games, whether it’s in regulation or otherwise. The Wild came into play Tuesday 25th in the league in winning percentages for one-goal games at .389. Calgary leads the way at .769. So getting those couple victories this past week helps that mark.

This isn’t scientific, but it just seems to me like the Wild aren’t historically on the winning end of one-goal games. All those 2-1 games can be frustrating.

Racking up the points
I’m not just talking about as a team. There’s the individual efforts, too. Jason Zucker has 10 points in the past 10 games, including a two-point effort in Vancouver and an assist plus the fifth goal in the 5-1 victory over Florida that chased Roberto Luongo.

Eric Staal leads the team in points with 20. He scored on yet another breakaway versus Florida. The look on his face during the celebration was just gold. Staal went a dozen games without a goal before scoring in that Toronto game. With the goal against Florida, that gives him two goals and three points in the last four games. Nino Niederreiter also has nine points in 11 games.

Mikko being Mikko
Mikko Koivu has three goals in the past six games, adding to his season total of seven goals and eight assists for the season. That’s great to see, but his biggest and perhaps most underrated value is in the faceoff circle. He’s third in the NHL in faceoffs won, with 364. He’s a guy that seems to have very passionate fans in his favor, or those that are overly critical and want to “strip the C.” I’m glad to see he’s contributing though.

I’m sure I’m missing a few of the key elements on the recent success streak. What sticks out in your mind about this team lately?

Follow Heather on Twitter @hlrule

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4 Comments

Interesting to note that we haven't heard the "bad habits are creeping in" talk yet, and the team hasn't played badly yet won. 

 

They've been playing well and winning. 

    • hlrule likes this
I'm getting to be a big fan of this guy: BruceBoudreau3-e1463160463305.jpg
    • Giles Ferrell and hlrule like this

 

Interesting to note that we haven't heard the "bad habits are creeping in" talk yet, and the team hasn't played badly yet won. 

 

They've been playing well and winning. 

 

What a concept!

 

I'm getting to be a big fan of this guy: BruceBoudreau3-e1463160463305.jpg

 

Bruce! Bruce! Bruce!


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