By Mike Max

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — The surging Minnesota Wild take on the New York Islanders Tuesday night at Xcel Energy Center.

There have been some specific people that seemed to have benefited from John Torchetti’s coaching style. Mike Max tells us about a more offensive Erik Haula because of his defense.

Next up for the revived Wild is a good New York Islanders team Monday night. That’s focus No. 1.

“They play a heavy game. Their third and fourth lines come out and finish their checks so we’ve got to be ready for that,” Torchetti said.

Part of what Torchetti wants to bring to the Wild is offensive freedom, the ability to feel like you can create. It worked well in Week 1 as the head coach and it worked particularly well for Erik Haula.

Haula is what you would consider an X-factor player, meaning he’s not relied on to but is capable of winning a game.

“I’ve still got to remember what my role is and have it in the back of my head that I can play offense as well and can make those plays in the offensive zone,” Haula said.

What he wants to be is consistent every night. Because what he is, is a gifted skater.

“He’s taken on the role that he’s probably going to have the assignment of playing one of the top two lines and check them,” Torchetti said. “Hopefully he has more puck possession and uses his speed. He’s got great speed, his offensive skills, he’s got great hockey sense.”

And what he’s doing is help get his team back in the playoff hunt.

“We’re trusted to play against some pretty good lines. When Mikko’s line isn’t matched up against their top line, it has been us a couple games here so we have to make sure that we don’t get scored on first and create offense through that,” Haula said. “Usually playing well on offense is the best defense.”

Mike Max

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