Skip to content

The NHL’s top team is now … the Minnesota Wild?

Nov 20, 2011, 1:26 AM EDT

Mikko Koivu AP

I have a quick, informal poll for you. What’s more surprising: the fact that the Edmonton Oilers just beat the Chicago Blackhawks by a ridiculous score of 9-2 or that the Minnesota Wild are now slightly ahead* of the Blackhawks for the best record in the NHL?

Oilers burn Chicago

No doubt about it, both situations are stunning. Ray Emery was pulled from the game against the Oilers only to find himself back in after Corey Crawford also got shelled by Edmonton. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins compiled a ludicrous five assists while Taylor Hall avenged a questionable hit by Duncan Keith (stay tuned for video of that check from behind) by notching a hat trick. Overall, the Blackhawks were outscored 14-4 in their trip through Western Canada, with their other loss coming to the struggling Calgary Flames.

Minnesota’s stealth surge

Again, that’s bewildering stuff. But few would have predicted that the Wild would find themselves in first place overall more than a month into the season. Minnesota, which defeated St. Louis in a shootout, earned wins in nine of their last 11 games as Niklas Backstrom and Josh Harding have been trading off victories.

They’re doing it with that aforementioned goaltending, timely scoring (they’ve only scored five goals once and four goals in one other game during that 11-game stretch) and an outstanding penalty kill that stopped 39 of 43 chances.

Yeo deserves praise

Quite a few coaches have received praise for greatly exceeding expectations in 2011-12 already, so let’s give rookie bench boss Mike Yeo some credit. He’s making it work so far in his first season with the big club, even if those efforts are going largely unnoticed by the mainstream. If Minnesota keeps it up, it won’t be easy for the Wild to slip under the radar much longer.

Forgive the Blackhawks if they feel a little more worried about themselves instead, though.

* Both teams have 27 points but Minnesota is 12-5-3 while Chicago is 12-6-3, so they get the “tie-breaker” at the moment.

Latest Posts
  1. Looking to make the leap: Ryan Spooner

    Aug 29, 2014, 11:00 PM EDT

    Boston Bruins v San Jose Sharks Getty Images

    Can he fit in well enough to embrace this opportunity?

  2. Poll: How should Boston handle its cap crunch?

    Aug 29, 2014, 10:10 PM EDT

    marchboy Getty Images

    Should they make a move or play hardball with free agents?

  3. Nicklas Backstrom finally got his silver medal today

    Aug 29, 2014, 6:29 PM EDT

    backstromsilver

    “I’m sleeping with it tonight.”

  4. Report: Flames expected to try out Brookbank

    Aug 29, 2014, 4:57 PM EDT

    Chicago Blackhawks v Nashville Predators Getty Images

    The Chicago Blackhawks let him walk.

  5. Report: Moore-Bertuzzi lawsuit removed from court docket

    Aug 29, 2014, 2:15 PM EDT

    Bertuzzi Moore

    Was schedule for Ontario Superior Court Sept. 8

  6. Video: Bruins participate in commercials to promote NHL 15

    Aug 29, 2014, 1:18 PM EDT

    Patrice Bergeron AP

    A pair of hilarious ads to promote the game.

  7. Under Pressure: David Krejci

    Aug 29, 2014, 12:33 PM EDT

    David Krejci Getty Images

    Heading into a contract year, lots on his shoulders.

  8. Panthers’ Bolland to have jersey retired by junior team

    Aug 29, 2014, 11:05 AM EDT

    Dave Bolland Getty Images

    Scored 135 goals and 299 points in four seasons with the London Knights.

  9. Oilers ink Schultz to one-year deal

    Aug 29, 2014, 10:45 AM EDT

    Justin Schultz Getty Images

    Spent the past two seasons in Edmonton.

  10. Bruins’ quiet summer could have an eventful finish

    Aug 29, 2014, 10:02 AM EDT

    JohnnyBoychuk Getty Images

    Their cap situation and defensive logjam might lead them to make a trade.

  11. Sarich opens up about scary cycling accident, aftermath

    Aug 29, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT

    Colorado Avalanche v Ottawa Senators Getty Images

    “It’s amazing how an accident like this puts things in perspective.”

  12. It’s Boston Bruins day on PHT

    Aug 29, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

    NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Detroit Red Wings at Boston Bruins Reuters

    They won the Presidents’ Trophy, but fell in the second round.

  13. Johnston: Teammates need to do more to help Crosby

    Aug 28, 2014, 9:33 PM EDT

    Sidney Crosby Getty Images

    The new coach wants the Penguins to ‘lessen the load.’

  14. Poll: Will the Sabres surprise critics this season?

    Aug 28, 2014, 7:11 PM EDT

    Tyler Myers Getty Images

    They have a lot of players on their roster with something to prove.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. J. Harding (1746)
  2. C. Price (1695)
  3. M. Staal (1647)
  4. A. Ekblad (1581)
  5. J. Giguere (1545)