Minnesota Wild Look to Avenge Awful 2016 Sports Year
The Minnesota Wild are streaking.
After hiring a new head coach in Bruce Boudreau to lead the team this season, the State of Hockey has a team they can be proud of for now. The Wild are on a 12 game win streak, and are taking on the Columbus Blue Jackets, who have 14-game win streak, tonight.
With a win tonight, the Wild would put some faith in Minnesota sports fans at the end of 2016, which has been awful year.
It started in January when Blair Walsh missed the field goal against the Seahawks in the playoffs. Since then, professional sports in the state of Minnesota have been disappointing.
The Twins had a franchise-worst record of 59-103. The Timberwolves showed promise, but still finished with an underwhelming record of 29-53 in the 2015-16 season. The Wild made the playoffs, but were bounced in the first round by the Dallas Stars. Even the Minnesota Lynx fell in the WNBA Championship. Okay, so that isn't as disappointing, but the Lynx were at home and just couldn't close in the fourth quarter.
This season, the Vikings looked to give us some hope, but they have lost eight of their last 10 games after starting the season 5-0. The Timberwolves were suppose to contend for a playoff spot in the Western Conference, but their slow start has them with a record of 11-22.
At least, the Wild have found their groove. Winners of 12 straight, their 50 points are second best in the Western Conference, trialing only the Blackhawks.
Devan Dubnyk has been a big reason why. He leads the NHL with a .944 save percentage, 1.67 goals allowed average and five shutouts. He is second in wins with 19. His stellar play between the pipes has been huge for the Wild as it tries to end 2016 on a high.
Eric Staal has been a great addition to the team, too. His 30 points is tied for the team lead with Charlie Coyle. He has contributed a team-high 19 assist and has been one of the teams leaders on offense all season.
On defense, Ryan Suter has played like a Norris Trophy candidate, leading the NHL in plus/minus with a +25. He has been fantastic, and the combination of great defense, timely offense and phenomenal goal tending has put the Wild on a streak.
With a win tonight over the surging Blue Jackets, the Wild will be able to put some hope into 2017 for Minnesota sports fans.