After a week or two of losses where the Wild played decently but not good enough to win, they’ve suddenly strung together three big wins and are back to 4 points out. After losses to ANA, LA, NJ, and CHI, they’ve now beaten CAL, CHI, and PIT. After falling to 8 points out of a playoff spot, they’re back to within striking distance at 4 points back.
This current stretch looked to be the toughest of the season for the Wild. Although they probably should have beaten Anaheim and LA and looked pretty bad in Chicago, they played well v. New Jersey and in all 3 home wins in the current streak. The squad even pulled of the biggest comeback in franchise history (down 5-1 v. Chicago in the 3rd) and tonight beat the defending Cup champion Penguins.
This team trends a bit differently from last year’s team. When they needed wins, last year’s team would win 1, then lose the next, through the balance of the schedule. This year’s team goes on runs...runs of losses, then runs of wins. If it can have one more winning run than losing, we may still get to talk playoff hockey this season.
A lot of other interesting stuff has gone on in the last couple weeks.
- Jacques Lemaire returned to the X behind the NJ Devil’s bench. He appeared to be moved by a nice reception from the Wild and Wild fans. Then he beat the Wild 4-3.
- Petr Sykora is upset that he is a consistent healthy scratch, and his agent is tweeting mad about it.
- Guillaume Latendresse is winning fans like mad with 15 points since the Benoit Pouliot trade.
- Backup G Josh Harding was in danger of taking a loss in a game where he entered trailing 5-1.
- Harding also unveiled a sweet new mask, paying homage to the team’s burned equipment van in Ottawa.
- In that same game, Marty Havlat was not chosen to shoot during an 8-round shootout.
- Two Minnesotans will be part of the core leadership for the US Olympic hockey team. Jamie Langenbrunner will serve as team captain and Zach Parise is one of 4 alternate captains.
All good stuff. The Wild will attempt to continue this run Wednesday at the X v. Vancouver Canucks.
Here’s a bonus for you: Latendresse’s game-winning goal from tonight’s game v. Pittsburgh. The goal was sweet, and so was how Kyle Brodziak created a sneaky 2 on 1. Great goal. Enjoy!