Dane Mizutani / St. Paul Pioneer Press
ST. PAUL — No one saw the Wild's offensive explosion Tuesday night, Dec. 19, in Ottawa coming. Minnesota matched a season high for goals in its 6-4 victory over the Senators. That's because, after returning home last week from a week-long, three-game West Coast road trip, the Wild managed only six goals in their previous four games. After finishing second in NHL scoring last season with an average of 3.20 goals a game, the Wild are tied for 16th this season at 2.90 entering Wednesday's games.
ST. PAUL — Perhaps no Wild player elicits more reaction, good or bad, from fans than 23-year-old defenseman Matt Dumba. One of the most offensively gifted players on the team desperate for such skills, blessed with an impossible-to-defend slap shot from the point, as well as the ability to ignite a rush with the best of them, Dumba is also one of the team's most frustrating players, as he frequently jumps up into the play, too often leaving himself out of position. Both sides of the spectrum were on display over the weekend.
ST. PAUL — Wild coach Bruce Boudreau knew the Edmonton Oilers were going to come out firing on Saturday afternoon, Dec. 16, at the Xcel Energy Center, especially considering they were shutout in their previous game despite firing 46 shots on goal. "We are going to have to be great defensively against them," Boudreau said. "I really worry about teams that struggle the night before. I mean, we've had this where we seem to play a team that got shut out the night before, and every time they do that, they come in, and they go, they start scoring again."
ST. PAUL — Krissy Wendell admitted she was a little hesitant when approached about practicing with the Minnesota Wild as part of the second annual Minnesota Wild Girls Hockey Weekend. "I was like, 'Do I really want to be out in a practice with a bunch of NHL guys?' " said Wendell, a former Gophers women player and two-time U.S. Olympian who retired more 10 years ago. "It would've been hard when I was playing, much less now that I've been removed."
ST. PAUL — Zach Parise huffed and puffed as he entered the Wild locker room after practice on Friday, Dec. 15, the first time he has fully worked out with the team since surgery more than seven weeks ago to remove a herniated disk. "There's still a ways to go," Parise said. "I think it's getting better and better every day, and my conditioning is getting better, so I'm still going down the right path."
ST. PAUL — Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk missed practice Wednesday, Dec. 13, with a lower-body injury, and it remains unclear how long he will be out of the lineup. Dubnyk suffered the injury early in the first period of the Tuesday's 2-1 shootout victory over the Calgary Flames. He started to feel pain after moving side to side on a save, and while he managed to finished the period, he did not return after intermission. He was scheduled to have an MRI on Wednesday afternoon.
ST. PAUL — It's been exactly seven weeks since Zach Parise had back surgery to remove a herniated disk, and his road to recovery appears to be going well. Parise started skating on his own about two weeks ago and recently started handling pucks again. He worked out on his own before the Tuesday, Dec. 12, game against the Calgary Flames at the Xcel Energy Center. While there's still no timetable for Parise's return, coach Bruce Boudreau sounded optimistic.
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Charlie Coyle entered Friday's game against the Anaheim Ducks on a five-game point streak. That was enough for him to merit a promotion to the second line with center Mikko Koivu and left wing Jason Zucker. Coyle was playing center during his five-game point streak, but coach Bruce Boudreau felt OK with the move.
LOS ANGELES — Less than 12 hours after coach Bruce Boudreau declared this year's team to be much different than the one that rattled off 12 consecutive victories last December, the Wild proved him right by giving up four unanswered goals in the third period of a 5-2 loss to the Kings at Staples Center on Tuesday, Dec. 5. It was yet another stark reminder that there is something missing from this year's team.
LOS ANGELES — As the winningest player in WNBA history, Lynx guard Lindsay Whalen has played in thousands of basketball games over the course of in her life. Still, in the hours leading up to her season debut as an in-game analyst, the 35-year-old former Gophers star from Hutchinson, Minn., found herself fighting back nerves. "I'm probably more nervous now than I've been for some games that I'm playing in," Whalen said. "It's just so different."