Wild look to stay on top for 2nd half of season

- While football has one more game, the NHL kicks off its second half of the season on Tuesday.

The Minnesota Wild are in first place in the Western Conference and they’re looking to keep their good run going.

We watched the 5-0 Vikings collapse after their bye week and the Twins after the mid-summer classic, but this Wild team is the real deal. They’re looking to change some minds, as this break gave the team a chance to heal up and rest -- and it's even seemed to rejuvenate the All-stars.

“I made a few saves at the start of this game and then figured that was enough,” joked goaltender Devan Dubnyk.

It's funny and it's actually smart, because you never want your goalie getting hurt in the All-Star Game when you need him for the crucial second half of the season, something head coach Bruce Boudreau was already thinking of Sunday night.

“We’ve had a good first half and now it starts to get tougher, but when you’re away from your team it’s always great to get back,” Dubnyk said.

The team practiced Monday before hitting the road to kick off the second half of their season. Anything can happen, and no NHL schedule is easy. But, barring major injuries and a catastrophic breakdown, if they continue to do what got them to the top of the conference, things look good for a deep play-off run. They need to continue listening to the coach, have solid defense and goaltending and play an up-tempo, aggressive style that allows the scorers the freedom to score goals.

“I’ve gotten a lot of praise in January and December before, and a lot of ‘boy you stink’ in June, so there’s a lot to work for here,” Boudreau said.

It all starts Tuesday with back-to-back games in Edmonton and Calgary.


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