Wild have won 4 games in a row. This weeklong road trip will be a good test.
They have tough games this week against the Flames in Calgary, Oilers in Edmonton, and Canucks in Vancouver.
ST. PAUL -- Finally, the Minnesota Wild are starting to gain some traction.
After going back and forth for about a month and a half, never stringing together a true winning streak, the Wild (13-9-2, 28 points) have won four games in a row. In the past week, they have notched home wins over the Coyotes, Oilers and Ducks, and on Sunday beat the Stars in Dallas.
The most stressful of the bunch for the Wild was the 6-5 shootout win over the Stars at American Airlines Center in Dallas. In complete control, the Wild melted down in the final 20 minutes of regulation, perhaps feeling the effects of the second half of a back-to-back. They surrendered a four-goal lead before ultimately prevailing in a shootout.
While some might look at that as a disappointing result given the blown lead, Wild coach Dean Evason considered it a galvanizing win given the circumstances.
“We kept going about our business,” he said. “That’s what we’ve asked of this group. We did that. We will use this as a very positive situation.”
Asked last week about his team’s lack of consistency, Evason stressed, “We need to win some games.” He doesn’t talk much about results, so it was a change of tune. Most of the time, Evason expresses concern for the process; as long as his players are doing the right things for 60 minutes, he often says, he can live with the outcome.
Still, he understands the name of the game is winning, and that the Wild haven’t done that with nearly enough regularity to this point. Last year’s team set a franchise record with 53 wins and 113 points before losing to the St. Louis Blues in the first round of the playoffs, 4-2.
“We need to have some separation now,” Evason said before the Wild notched weekend victories. “We can’t just play a good game and then fall off, make some mistakes, turn pucks over and give teams an opportunity. We have to continue to do what we’re doing.”
This weeklong road trip through Western Canada will be a good test for the Wild. They have tough games this week against the Flames in Calgary, Oilers in Edmonton, and Canucks in Vancouver. All of those teams are currently below the Wild in the Western Conference standings. Thus, a few wins this week would go a long way for the Wild.
The Wild don’t play again until Wednesday at Calgary’s Scotiabank Saddledome. There is a team building activity scheduled for the players while the coaching staff will get some much needed rest.
“This will be a positive for us to get together as a group,” Evason said. “We feel good about ourselves. We feel good about the group. We’ve got a nice feeling of togetherness so it’ll be nice to be together.”
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