Devan Dubnyk isn’t the only reason for the Minnesota’s Wild’s success.
To be sure, Dubnyk has been excellent, going 17-6-3 with a .948 save percentage. But the netminder doesn’t have much to do with the Wild’s offense, which currently ranks fourth in the NHL (3.06 goals per game), up from 18th last season (2.60).
“The pucks are going in,” forward Mikko Koivu told reporters after Friday’s 7-4 win over the Rangers. The Wild only registered 21 shots in their 10th straight victory. They chased Henrik Lundqvist, who made just nine saves on 13 shots.
“Once we started winning [consistently], they started to believe in the things that we were trying to accomplish. And then when we didn’t do well, our confidence was there to bail us out,” head coach Bruce Boudreau said recently, per the StarTribune. “You gain confidence, it’s a crazy thing, but when you believe you can win all the time, it usually happens.”
So far this season, only two teams — the Rangers (11.2%) and Blue Jackets (11.1%) — have registered a higher shooting percentage than the Wild (10.6%).
This, of course, has led to predictions of a regression. Minnesota is a middle-of-the-pack team based on puck-possession stats.
But then, with a record of 21-8-4, the Wild can afford to fall back to earth a bit. Heading into tonight’s game in Nashville, they’re 11 points up on the Predators, the closest non-playoff team in the Western Conference.
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