Week three certainly saw a change of fortunes for the Minnesota Wild. After a start that was, by all accounts, lacklustre, they suddenly turned it on with three wins in a row.
In losing to the Nashville Predators, we had an inkling that the team had started to get things together. Whilst they ultimately lost the game, the Minnesota Wild’s game play was significantly improved to that seen on previous outings.
It almost was inevitable that a decent win was coming, and the Arizona Coyotes proved the perfect fodder, before a convincing win over divisional rivals, the Dallas Stars.
The Minnesota Wild wrapped up a big week with a very big win, taking the Tampa Bay Lightning, an early season favourite for the Stanley Cup, to overtime and netting the two points.
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All throughout the week, the team has shown impressive resilience; they had to replace Joel Eriksson Ek, before Matt Hendricks too got injured. Mikko Koivu took time off, maybe not enough (but that’s a different story) too.
To lose multiple players and at one point having a 7th defenseman filling in as a winger and to come away with a near flawless week isn’t bad going.
Around the media outlets, this seems to have been reflected with substantial rises for the Minnesota Wild in most of their power rankings.
Joe Haggerty of NBC Sports Boston doesn’t see the team rising up his list anywhere near as much, placing them in 16th (last week: 17th) and pointing to slow starts from some of the younger talent as a cause for concern.
"Young guys like Joel Eriksson Ek and Joel Greenway are off to slow starts for Minny, who again look like they’re going to be just good enough to get their fan base excited. – Joe Haggerty (NBC Sports Boston)"
Whilst Haggerty does point him out, Nino Niederreiter certainly needs to pick up the pace, though right now his lack of production is being masked by other players. If he’s not to become nothing more than trade bait though, he definitely needs to find a different gear.
The TSN.ca rankings see the Minnesota Wild making their biggest climb. The team over there ranked the Wild at 12th (last week: 24th). They pointed out that home form has been particularly key over the past year.
Finally, Brenton Kemp of The Sports Geek has the team in perfectly middle ground, with a placement in 15th spot. The key comment there was that the Minnesota Wild are finally turning their defensive game around after early season struggles.
All in all, not a bad week for climbing the ladder on basically all power rankings around the various media outlets we could find.