The NHL has filled us with many surprises this season like it always does, but one surprise stands alone at top of the NHL. The Minnesota Wild have taken the NHL by storm this season surprising everyone with a 20-8-5 record putting them at the top of the Western Conference standings along with leading the entire NHL in points at 45. This has been a huge departure from the past with their strength in defense. A significant change to the Wild’s new found success this season has been the added offensive talent and play.
This past offseason they acquired the right wingers, Devin Setoguchi and Dany Heatley, from the San Jose Sharks. Both Setoguchi and Heatley have proven to be awesome additions. Even though Devin is currently on IR, before his injury he was a big part of the teams success, while Dany is 2nd on the team in scoring with 22 points on the season. Also, the Wild have had contributions from not only Setoguchi and Heatley but from star center Mikko Koivu who leads the team in scoring with 28 points and Pierre-Marc Bouchard who ranks third on the team in scoring with 18 points. This Minnesota team has magically turned into an offensive power house but it is not just the offense that has came up huge this season.
The Wild have also had solid goaltending even with all of the injures that they have suffered. Minnesota’s starting goaltender, Niklas Backstrom, has had an up and down season at times, not being able to stay healthy, he has posted a 11-6-4 record with 2 shutouts, a 2.06 GAA, and a .933 save percentage in 22 starts. When Niklas Backstrom has been injured this season, it’s been Josh Harding who has taken over and has been lights out for the Wild, posting a 7-2-1 record with a 2.14 GAA, a .932 save percentage, and one shutout. The Wild’s solid defense has been a nice complement to their great offensive play and that has made them into a complete and great hockey team. The Minnesota Wild have taken the NHL by surprise this year, continuing to be the best team in the league and off to the best start in franchise history and possibly their first playoff birth since 2007-2008.
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