The Minnesota Wild: New Look, Same Old Style
With the additions of Pavol Demitra, Mark Parrish, Kim Johnsson, and the development of Mikko Koivu and Pierre-Marc Bouchard, it appeared that the Wild were set to become a more offensive-minded club, giving up a few more goals in the process.
Coach Jacques Lemaire, one of the very best in the business, bucked that line of thought and, instead, assimilated his new additions into the typical Wild style of play, rather than let the roster dictate how his team would play hockey.
Instead of become a more wide-open club, the Wild have clamped down even further, and are in good shape to finish with the league's best Goals Against Average. After giving up 2.56 goals against per game last season, the Wild improved that mark to 2.24, thanks in large part to the goaltending of overage rookie Niklas Backstrom, who leads the league with a 92.7% save percentage.
The Jennings race as of today ...
Minnesota - 183 goals against in 80 games
Detroit - 187 in 80 games
Dallas - 188 in 79 games
Vancouver - 188 in 79 games
New Jersey - 189 in 80 games