Wild Continue Winning Ways

(AP Photo/Andy Clayton-King)

Wild set franchise record for wins through 41 games.

Hey Wild fans!! Does anyone else wish that we could fast-forward to the end of the season so that we can see just how deep into the playoffs that our boys will go? That would be nice, in some ways. However, the Wild have just been so fun to watch halfway through the regular season, that I almost wish we could lengthen the season! They are currently 28-10-3 as they head to the All-Star break, where tendy, Cam Talbot and Kirill Kaprizov will represent the Wild. Talbot and the potent offense have been plowing through opposing teams like Plowy McPlowface busts through snow drifts on 35W.

Though the Wild are currently in third place in the Central Division, they are just one point behind the Nashville Predators for second despite playing five less games than the Preds. The Colorado Avalanche are in first place by nine points with 68 points, to the 59 points by Minnesota. However, no team is hotter in the division than the Wild with a six-game winning streak. Colorado had been extremely well as of late, before they dropped an embarrassing loss at home to the lowly Arizona Coyotes 3-2 in a shootout. That’s a hockey equivalent of the Packers losing at home in a cold, snowy Lambeau to a team from California. Well, maybe not, but I couldn’t pass up the chance to razz the Packers a bit.

The Wild front office have extended the contracts of Jon Merrill and Jordan Greenway in recent weeks. Merrill has been an economical, yet solid addition to the blue line. He as been leading or near the top for blocked shots on the team and has filled holes left by Jonas Brodin, Jared Spurgeon and Alex Goligoski, due to COVID-19 and injuries. Merrill signed a three-year, $3.6 million extension, which will provide the Wild with a veteran blue liner for the foreseeable future.

Jordan Greenway also locked up a three-year extension for $9 million bucks. He has been a part of the formidable GREEF line, with Joel Eriksson Ek and Marcus Foligno. These guys have been the shutdown line for the Wild this season. They have not allowed a 5-5 goal yet this season while combining for 64 points. They are one the best, if not THE best shutdown lines in the league.

Central Division standings as of February 3, 2022

Kirill Kaprizov is leading the Wild in goals, assists and points (19G, 34A, 53P). Line-mate and best friend forever, Mats Zuccarello (14G, 28A, 42P) is in second place for the team. Kevin Fiala (3rd in points), Ryan Hartman (2nd in goals) and Marcus Foligno (3rd in goals) round out the top five. Matt Boldy, who has a permanent spot on the team, has been building some pretty great chemistry with Fiala recently. Fiala has had a 12-game scoring streak since Boldy has come up to Minnesota.

The offense has been the large reason for the Wild success this year and the mix of veterans and youth are providing highlight-reel goals such as this one in their most recent game where Zuccarello hit the brakes in front of the net before dishing the puck to a wide-open Kaprizov who buried the biscuit in the back of the net. This was the Wild’s third win over the Blackhawks and had Chicago goaltender Marc Andre-Fleury so flustered, that he swung his stick like Ryne Sandburg against the goal pipes after the final Wild goal in a 5-0 victory for Minnesota.

The season is halfway done for the Wild and they have great success thus far. If you’ve been a Wild fan for as long as I have, you’re probably thinking this is the best Wild team ever – and the numbers support that. Regardless of what happens in the playoffs, the Wild have certainly given us a damn fun team to watch this season. As Jon Bon Jovi sang in the 80’s, “we’re half way there.” Go Wild!!!!

Author: MNhockeywriter

Hockey is like religion in Minnesota and I'm here to preach.

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