MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota Wild play at Winnipeg Tuesday night and you’re starting to wonder how many goals they will score, not it if they will win.
They have 90 goals on the road, top in the NHL. One of the many moves that has paid off for Bruce Boudreau is deciding Mikko Koivu, Mikael Granlund and Jason Zucker can play well together on the same line.
WCCO’s Mike Max has more on the dividends.
He’s been part of the emergence of the Wild’s best cocktail, when they put Mikael Granlund with Mikko Koivu and Jason Zucker on the same line.
“I think it’s been one of the biggest keys for our success so far,” Granlund said. “A lot of different lines different nights are producing and we really hope we can keep doing that, and I think that’s one of our biggest strengths right now.”
Then there is Captain Koivu, whose career got a boost and who has become vital to his head coach.
“It’s his other attributes that he brings. We can put that line against any line in the league and they usually do a very good job checking,” Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said. “Plus they can score.”
His job is to keep it together. That’s easier to lead when you are winning.
“It’s different for all of us. But at the same time you want to keep pushing yourself even when things are going good,” Koivu said. “I think we have that experience now.”
Playing with two players who can move, they have become the force.
“Obviously you want to be contributing any time you can, especially when you’re winning. But any time you can help this team win or be helping the team in any way it’s always good,” Zucker said.
That’s what is different this season. Winning has created chemistry, or vice versa. No one is spending much time analyzing, just don’t want to slow the mojo.
“That might be one reason but obviously confidence has a lot do with that and I think the whole team is playing with a lot of confidence right now,” Granlund said. “It’s been fun, guys are having fun out there.”
As well as the Wild have been playing on the road with that 17-6-5 record, they are anxious to get back home and they will be, starting Wednesday night with their key game against the Blackhawks.
It’s part of an eight game home stand, in fact because of their so-called bye week coming up. After Winnipeg, the Wild don’t play on the road again until Feb. 28.