(Eds: With AP Photos.) By DAVE CAMPBELL AP Sports Writer The Minnesota Wild are playing for their third head coach in four seasons, they haven't won a playoff series in nearly nine years and their roster is mostly unrecognizable to sports fans outside of - or even in - the state.
Here they are, though, leading the NHL with 43 points at their 30-game mark.
''There's a lot of belief right now that we're for real, and if there's a reason why we feel that way, it's because of the way we come to the rink and the way we prepare,'' center Kyle Brodziak said after Minnesota's seventh straight victory, Saturday at Phoenix.
Brodziak, the third-line center, leads the team with 10 goals. In the league? He's tied for 40th, the most obvious sign of a balanced offense that has used a so-far unwavering commitment to new coach Mike Yeo's system to reach a 20-7-3 record. That's the best start in the franchise's 11-year history, thanks to three separate winning streaks of five games or more.