It’s about time someone stepped up and gave the Vancouver Canucks a bit of competition.
The Minnesota Wild have taken advantage of the Canucks’ recent slide, and defeated their Northwest Division rivals over the weekend to move into a tie for first place.
This is probably what the front office had in mind when they brought in Zach Parise and Ryan Suter on massive contracts last summer. Even in this market, the Wild finally acknowledged that they needed some star power and while they’re not the only reason that the Wild are performing well, they’ve certainly contributed.
Zach Parise scored two goals against Vancouver on Sunday as part of the 4-2 Wild win. The move helped the Wild move into third place in the Western Conference, as they own the tiebreaker over the Canucks.
When the likes of Parise and Suter were brought in this summer, many expected this team to be better. Some expected them to be a power in the West. While the latter hasn’t happened quite yet, and probably will not until they add a bit better of a supporting cast, this is a team playing some fine hockey right now.
They’ve won seven of their last 10 games. Their offense looks to have turned a corner and is playing a bit better of late, while they’re allowing only 2.26 goals per game, good for seventh in the league. They’ve managed to survive a rash of issues as far as their goaltending is concerned, with Niklas Backstrom maintaining a steady presence between the pipes.
This probably isn’t a team that is going to make a true Stanley Cup run this season. They may not even win the division. But the Canucks have coasted in this division that past few years. The Minnesota Wild have an opportunity to make this interesting and announce themselves as a threat when the playoffs do come around.