Mar 3, 2014, 11:03 PM EDT
The Minnesota Wild are winning in part because of a surprisingly effective goalie, and this time, it isn’t Josh Harding. Instead, it’s Darcy Kuemper enjoying unexpected success, as the netminder and Wild won their fifth game in a row by beating the Calgary Flames 3-2 on Monday.
Kuemper, 23, was named the third star of last week after he only allowed one goal in two wins. He’s undefeated since the Olympic break ended and his winning streak extends two games before players departed for Sochi.
With this streak, the Wild find themselves with an increasingly comfortable hold on a wild card spot:
Two wild card teams
Minnesota: 75 points in 62 games played
Dallas: 68 points in 61 GP
Bubble teams (cutoff at 60+ points)
Winnipeg: 66 points in 62 GP
Vancouver: 66 points in 63 GP
Phoenix: 65 points in 61 GP
Nashville: 62 points in 61 GP
The Wild remain far behind Colorado (83 points in 61 GP) in the Central Division, so it looks like Minnesota might need to continue fighting for this spot. As of this moment, they appear positioned to win that fight.
The other bit of good news for Minnesota is that Mikko Koivu was able to (nervously) return:
- Bruins sign three — Hayes, Connolly, and DeFazio 10
- Babcock expects Kadri to be ‘an elite player’ 14
- No expansion bid expected from Kansas City 29
- Leafs sign Matthias — one year, $2.3 million 17
- Report: Kopitar, Kings in ‘early stages of negotiations’ for extension 12
- Arbitration filed: Holtby, Nyquist & Stepan highlight list released by NHLPA 13
- Report: Plotnikov paid $500K to get out of KHL contract 14
- Philadelphia signs ’15 first rounder Provorov 12
- Brandon Saad brings championship experience to Blue Jackets 22
- Sharks sign Joel Ward to three-year deal 25