Just about two months ago it seemed like the season was already slipping away from the Minnesota Wild.
They had won just four of their first 14 games, had one of the worst records in the league, and were set to begin a four-game road trip. It was a potential a turning point in their season as it could have easily gotten away from them.
It did not.
Thanks to their 6-4 win in Colorado on Friday, the Wild remain one of the NHL’s hottest teams since the first week of November and have played their way back into playoff contention.
You can see all of the highlights in the video above.
Let’s dig into three quick takeaways on Friday’s game and the Wild’s current strong play.
1. No lead seemed safe in this game
And that is because almost no lead was safe.
After the Wild jumped out to an early 2-0 lead and carried the play for most of the first period, Colorado responded with two goals in less than two minutes to tie the game. After Brad Hunt regained the lead for the Wild, Colorado came back with two more quick goals (one in the final minute of the second period; another in the opening minute of the third period) to take a 4-3 lead early in the third period. The Wild then responded with three goals in the game’s final 10 minutes to pick up the win.
It was a complete team effort, too.
Not only did they get goals from top-line players like Eric Staal, Mats Zuccarello, and Ryan Suter, but depth players like Hunt and Viktor Rask also contributed. Carson Soucy also continued his strong rookie season with another goal, while Kevin Fiala chipped in two assists.
2. The Wild have been one of the the NHL’s hottest teams for two months
With Friday’s win the Wild are now 15-6-5 in their past 26 games dating back to Nov. 1.
That is the fifth-best points percentage in the NHL during that stretch and has taken them from the bottom of the NHL standings to serious playoff contention in the Western Conference.
What should give Wild fans a lot of optimism isn’t just the fact they have started to dig themselves out of that early hole. It is also the fact they have a chance to keep stacking up points because of this…
3. They play 16 of their next 19 games on home ice
After spending most of the first half of the season on the road, the Wild now get to make up for that by spending almost the entire third quarter of the season in Minnesota.
Their only road games between now and Feb. 15 take them to Calgary on Jan. 9, Pittsburgh on Jan. 14, and Dallas on Feb. 7. After that, their next road game isn’t until Feb. 19 when they travel to Vancouver.
This is noteworthy because the Wild are one of the best teams in the league on home ice with a 10-2-3 record.
Even after Friday’s win in Colorado they are just 9-13-2 on the road this season.
Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.