If you have been making NHL picks this season, you have probably noticed several teams have assembled long winning streaks. However, only one has continued to back it up after losing: Minnesota.
Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Columbus, Minnesota and now Washington has all put together winning streaks of at least seven games in the 2016-17 season. The Capitals just lost Monday, so we do not know how they will react as of this writing, but the Flyers, Penguins and Blue Jackets have been up-and-down since compiling a series of victories -- but not Minnesota.
The Wild had their 12-game winning streak snapped by Columbus, which was also in the midst of long winning stretch, but have not suffered a big letdown in having won five of seven (as of Jan. 17) and are on imposing 17-2 run.
Why Is Minnesota Playing So Well?
Like almost anything in life, when something good or bad happens, it is never one aspect that changes everything. Minnesota is defensive minded-team under coach Bruce Boudreau and goalie Devan Dubnyk, leading the NHL in fewest goals allowed and save percentage.
Boudreau is no youngster at 62, but he has embraced hockey analytics and found ways to create better matchups against various teams and players in given games, which has led to his team continually beating the NHL odds.
Boudreau is in his first year in the upper Midwest, and looking over last year's team he had to be thrilled about the Eric Staal free-agent signing. Staal is 32, and while he's not going to be faster or quicker at this juncture he brought a true No. 1 center to this franchise. Stall has the wingers around him better and allowed other players to be on lines more suited to their individual talents.
Can Minnesota continue to play at this pace? Of course not, but I can't think of one reason not to use them for NHL picks for now until you see the Wild slow down.