Posted November 23, 2011 on
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Sporting the best record in the NHL, the Minnesota Wild believe they are creating an identity that they are a difficult opponent to beat.
The Wild will try for their second five-game win streak of the season Wednesday night when they host the Nashville Predators.
Minnesota (12-5-3) has 27 points from 20 games, with Chicago and Pittsburgh owning the same point total while having played one more time. The Wild have relied on the goalie tandem of Niklas Backstrom and Josh Harding to limit opponents to a league-best 1.95 goals per game.
First-year coach Mike Yeo is pleased with the progress of his team.
"Is Nashville going to come in here and change their game?" Yeo said. "I'm sure that they're not. And that's what we're trying to establish here is our own identity as far as the way that we want to play the game, it shouldn't change night in and night out."
Harding is 5-1-1 with a 1.79 goals-against average and 3-4-0 with a 3.01 GAA against Nashville (10-6-4) while Backstrom - 7-4-2 with a 1.97 GAA - is 5-4-0 with a 3.10 GAA in nine career starts against the Predators.
Nashville enters after an ugly performance as Vezina Trophy finalist Pekka Rinne gave up three goals on 13 shots in the first period and was replaced by Anders Lindback in Tuesday's 6-2 home loss to Edmonton.
"I didn't want to continue to subject Pekka to the way we were playing,'' coach Barry Trotz said.
Rinne is 5-2-1 with a 2.18 GAA in eight starts against the Wild while Lindback has never started against them.
The Wild went 0 for 10 on the power play in losing three of four matchups with the Predators last season. Although their power play is still struggling at 13.5 percent and the club has been outshot in 15 games this season, Minnesota has found success with its defensive approach.
"Guys came ready to play this year," right wing Pierre-Marc Bouchard said. "It's been fun so far, we want to keep it going."
Minnesota owns an NHL-leading eight one-goal victories.
"We've been in a lot of one-goal games all year long," right wing Dany Heatley said. "I don't think we get nervous when it comes down to the end. Guys just go out and do their job and find a way to win."
The Predators are beginning a five-game trip as they try to avoid a third straight loss. They fell behind by three goals in the first period and never recovered Tuesday.
"I think we all need to be better, particularly early," center Mike Fisher said. "We got some chances but we still have to be better and try and muster up something early and get the guys going. That was a frustrating, embarrassing one at home."
Defenseman Shea Weber had an assist to give him seven points in a five-game streak. He's got four assists in his last three games against Minnesota.
Minnesota defenseman Marco Scandella, meanwhile, is expected to return after missing four consecutive games because of a concussion.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
BETTER WITH AGE
Minnesota was in a bad spot leading up to their game, so they added an emergency goalie -- a 51-year-old print shop owner.
Minnesota Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom has returned to practice after missing Wednesday's game against the Nashville Predators due to personal reasons.Backstrom's absence forced the Wild to sign 51-year-old businessman Paul Deutsch to serve as their
emergency goaltender against the Predators. He only spent a few moments on the bench before being replaced by minor-league...
ST. PAUL, Minn The Minnesota Wild announced an unusual transaction early Wednesday evening: Goaltender Paul Deutsch, 51, has been signed to an amateur tryout contract. You read that right: 51.The part not on the Wilds press release is that Deutsch is a rec league goalie who runs a printing business in Richfield, Minn. He is a friend of former Wild assistant coach Mike Ramseys and...
The Minnesota Wild have signed 51-year-old recreational hockey goaltender Paul Deutsch as an emergency backup for Wednesday night's game against the Nashville Predators.
Deutsch was signed after Niklas Backstrom was declared out for personal reasons. Matt Hackett was recalled from Houston, but his flight wasn't scheduled to land in the Twin Cities until about 6:30. Minnesota...
The Minnesota Wild had a bit of a goalie situation on their hands Wednesday night, and as a result they turned to 51-year-old Paul Deutsch. The Wild signed Deutsch to an amateur contract agreement so that he could be the team's emergency backup. Starter Niklas Backstrom was out of the lineup for personal reasons, meaning Josh Harding would get the start in net. Matt Hackett was...
For 51-year old Paul Deutsch of Minnesota, he got to live his NHL dream last night as an emergency goalie for the Minnesota Wild.
Due to some extreme circumstances, Deutsch was tracked down by the Wild to the sign a minor-league contract and got to warm-up with the team:
After the Wild got word that Niklas Backstrom, slated to be the starter,
would have to miss the game...
Paul Deutsch got a phone call many children dream of.
The only difference with Deutsch is that he’s no kid, not even in juniors. He’s a 51-year-old dad, and screen printer and embroiderer from the suburbs. and he got to sign a one-game contract for the Minnesota Wild as backup goalie.
Niklas Backstrom was out for personal reasons, and Matt Hackett, of the Houston...
Sometimes it pays to know the former assistant coach...It's not every day that a 51-year-old casual, goaltender ((and friend of Mike Ramsey)) gets signed in an emergency situation. Minnesota Wild goal Niklas Backstrom's wife went into labor, so he had to leave.That meant that an emergency call-up, Matt Hackett, had to travel all the way from Houston and try and get to the...
Most guys Paul Deutsch's age are lucky to make it through a round of golf without getting injured, let alone be suiting up as a backup goalkeeper for an NHL team tonight. The Wild have signed Deutsch for tonight's game against the Nashville Predators when a deal to sign Niklas Backstrom fell through, and Matt Hackett's flight was delayed after being called up from Houston.
The Minnesota Wild signed a 51-year-old businessman to serve as their emergency goaltender for Wednesday's game against the Nashville Predators.
The Wild inked Paul Deutsch to an amateur tryout once they learned that minor league call-up Matt Hackett would not arrive in Minneapolis until 30 minutes before game time.
Deutsch runs a printing business and, according to the Minneapolis...
Niklas Backstrom will miss tonight's game against the Nashville Predators for personal reasons (not serious).
The Minnesota Wild have signed 51-year-old recreational hockey goaltender Paul Deutsch as an emergency backup for Wednesday night's game against the Nashville Predators. Deutsch was signed after Niklas Backstrom was declared out for personal reasons. Matt Hackett was recalled from Houston, but his flight wasn't scheduled to land in the Twin Cities until about 6:30.
Great story out of Minnesota on Wednesday, as the Minnesota Wild found themselves without a backup goalie the morning of their game versus the Nashville Predators. With Nicklas Backstrom out for undisclosed personal reasons, Josh Harding got the start, and Houston Aeros' netminder Matt Hackett was called up to back him up.
There was some uncertainty, however, over whether Hackett...
HAPPY THANKSGIVING!The Morning After:Yesterday’s results:Wild 3, Predators 2Smashville 24/7 3 stars of the night:1. Mikko Koivu, MIN (2 assists)2. Josh Harding, MIN (23 saves)3. Jordin Tootoo, NSH (1 goal, 1 assist)Play of the game: