Minnesota Wild return to form
The Minnesota Wild are on a five-game winning streak and seem to be returning to form. Zach Parise and Devan Dubnyk have been carrying the Wild for the late-season stretch and when your best player and goaltender are playing well, it makes the rest of the team better.
The Wild will only go as far as Parise can take them this season. When Parise is scoring and playing with his incredible work ethic it makes the team better. He brings the best out of the Wild’s ‘depth’ players.
In the five-game winning streak, Parise has five goals and two assist for seven points. Parise is on a three-game point streak, and the Wild has been playing its best hockey since the start of the season. Parise’s performance earned him the NHL’s first star of the week.
“He’s on fire,” defenseman Ryan Suter said to the Star Tribune’s Micheal Russo. “He’s been working hard, playing hard, doing the right things. Now finally he’s getting rewarded for it and it’s huge for our team.”
Parise’s hot play will have to continue as the Wild make a playoff push.
Dubnyk absolutely stole a win in Los Angeles, saving 38-of-39 shots, making several sweet glove saves to propel the Wild to the 2-1 victory. The Kings outshot the Wild 39-18 but the Wild were able to get big goals from Erik Haula, who is playing at his best since the 2014 playoffs, and Mikko Koivu on the power play.
Dubnyk’s play has been exactly what the doctor ordered for the Wild. In the five-game win streak, Dubnyk has saved 158-of-165 shots attempted. That is an incredible .958 percentage.
With Dubnyk and Parise’s play, the Wild is in fantastic position to make the playoffs for the fourth consecutive year.
Dubnyk is 10-1-1 in his past 13 games, with the one loss coming in a clunker in New Jersey. The Wild’s power play is up to 10th in the NHL and the penalty kill has been successful in 24 of the past 25 attempts.
The penalty kill has been massive for the Wild.
“I really like how we’re going lately,” Dubnyk said to the Star Tribune. “Guys are working real hard and getting the job done and making it easy on me.”
Easy for Dubnyk maybe, but he has been playing great as well. He is making the saves he is supposed to make and making some saves he isn’t supposed to make. The quality goaltending is something the Wild haven’t seen in awhile from Dubnyk, but it is coming at the perfect time.
With the win in Saturday against the Avalanche, the Wild pushed their lead to five points over Colorado, with six games to play, as of Monday morning. Colorado has seven games left to play, so the Wild has to keep playing with the same can’t lose attitude.
“You feel confident, but I think we have to continue to play the way we have, the same mindset that we’ve had,” Suter said to the Star Tribune. “It’s still tight. You still want to build your game for the playoffs.”
The playoffs are definitely calling for the Wild, but they have to stay sharp. They cannot afford to fall back into some mid-season-like slump.
With Parise and Dubnyk peaking at the right time, and the continued secondary scoring the Wild is getting from Nino Niederreiter and Haula, the Wild is in a good spot to make the postseason