Eight games into the season, nobody on the Minnesota Wild has more than three goals, but nine players have scored at least twice, and seven more have done it once.
Indeed, it’s been a very balanced attack that’s helped the Wild to a 5-2-1 start. They smoked the Sabres, 4-0, last night in Buffalo. Four different players got goals, including defenseman Ryan Suter.
“That’s how we have to win,” Suter told reporters. “We don’t have the superstars. We need everybody on the team participating.”
It’s interesting that Suter would mention the lack of superstars, because that’s the exact same message head coach Bruce Boudreau was pushing when he took the job in May.
“As much as I like Ovechkin and Getzlaf and Perry, you don’t need those guys to win,” Boudreau said. “You can do it the old-fashioned way. You do it as a team.”
It’s only been eight games, so the Wild still have a lot to prove. They were outshot, 38-22, last night, and their possession stats propose the possibility that an unsustainably high shooting percentage and great goaltending from Devan Dubnyk (4-1-1, .944) have been the real keys to their winning start.
“He’s carrying us right now,” d-man Matt Dumba said of Dubnyk, “so we’ll ride that wave.”
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with getting great goaltending, and the Wild shouldn’t have to apologize for burying their scoring chances either. Puck possession isn’t everything in hockey, and at any rate, possession stats don’t have the greatest predictive power so early in the season.
For now, Boudreau’s superstar-less group gets the benefit of the doubt.
The Wild host Dallas Saturday and Buffalo Tuesday before hitting the road for games in Denver, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Ottawa.