What a week it was for the Minnesota Wild. This past week the team played four games in seven days, all on the road, and all of them on the West Coast. Apparently the boys just love themselves that warm weather, because the Wild came back home with four wins. The Wild downed the Ducks, Sharks, Kings and Coyotes, and have a chance to sweep their road trip this Tuesday as they make their first trip to Winnipeg to battle the Jets. This past week saw the Wild up their win streak to seven games, including their last five on the road (franchise record), and become the first team in the NHL to reach the 20 win and 40 point mark.
In a lot of ways this past week was a microcosm of the Wild’s season thus far. The team won in different ways, while relying on different people every night. In Sunday’s game against the Ducks, the Wild actually outshot the Ducks in the first period despite going to the dressing room down 2-0. The Wild would tie the game in the second on goals from Casey Wellman and Pierre-Marc Bouchard that came 17 seconds apart. They would score the game winner in the third on a pass to Nick Johnson that bounced in off his foot as he was driving to the net. This really felt like the Wild’s game. They controlled the game, and it never felt out of reach despite the early 2-0 hole. Tuesday against the Sharks was Matt Hackett’s coming out party. Josh Harding went down 1:30 into the game, and gave way to rookie Matt Hackett who made his debut by stonewalling the Sharks for the rest of the game. The Wild would score two goals in the first period despite being outshot by the Sharks 18-9. That would be the final score, as Hackett stood tall. Thursday against the Kings would be different in the way that they scored 17 seconds into the game. It was the first time in over a week the Wild played in a first period with a lead. Hackett would shut the Kings out until 2:36 into the third period, setting a record for rookie goaltender’s scoreless streak to start their career at 102:36. The Kings would add another but it would not be enough as the Wild dominated and beat them 4-2. On Saturday the Wild beat the Coyotes 4-1. Kyle Brodziak scored two Power Play goals, and Niklas Backstrom returned to the net with vengeance. This game seemed to be all Wild, despite being outshot by the Coyotes. In fact, the Wild only put up three shots in the entire second period, they just happened to score on two of them.
The Wild were really rolling by the end of the week. They are clearly buying into Mike Yeo’s system, and they are clearly starting to believe in themselves as a team. This is a team that trusts in itself as a team, and does not care about who gets credit for what. They are very much a unit, and they play and work together as such. The most impressive part of all of this: the 41 points, the 20-7-3 record, the outstanding play, and everything else that they have achieved, is that they are not even healthy. The Wild has been doing this without the likes of Guillaume Latendresse, Marek Zidlicky, Cal Clutterbuck, Justin Falk, Nicklas Backstrom, and as of this last week Josh Harding and Devin Setoguchi. The fact that they have called up players like Casey Wellman (3 points in 5 games), Jeff Taffe (2 goals in 2 games), Cody Almond (2 points in 5 games), and Matt Hackett who was named the NHL’s second star of the week! This team is going to get all of these guys back, most of them soon from what I am hearing- Latendresse and Zidlicky practiced Monday and Setoguchi should come off IR this week, and this team is only going to get better.
Overall, this was a very positive and very impressive week for the NHL leading Minnesota Wild.
The @ChurchOfYeo tweet of the Week:
And the day after the seventh straight road win, they rested. So sayeth the Yeo. #Amen
As always, thanks for reading.
Your comments are always welcomed.
Follow me on twitter @Wild_Halo