Friday Five: Top Victories of 2016-17
A look back at the most exciting victories from a historic regular seasonby Dan Myers @1DanMyers / Wild.com
In today's Friday Five, Wild.com takes a look back at the top five victories from this past season:
5. Minnesota finishes brutal back-to-back by scoring seven at Madison Square Garden (Dec. 23, 2016)
After defeating Colorado on home ice on Dec. 20, all that stood between the Wild and its three-day Christmas break was a daunting back-to-back set on the road against Montreal and the New York Rangers.
Playing without forward Zach Parise, who was ill, the Wild went into Montreal and secured a 4-2 victory to assure itself of at least two points on the trip.
The following night, still playing without Parise, Minnesota scored five second-period goals en route to a 7-4 win over the Rangers. The outburst in the middle frame established a new franchise record for goals in a single period on the road, as Minnesota drove goaltender Henrik Lundqvist from his crease.
Perhaps as impressive: Seven different Wild players scored goals in the game, including Mikael Granlund, Mikko Koivu, Nino Niederreiter, Marco Scandella, Jason Zucker, Matt Dumba and Charlie Coyle. Six Wild players tallied multiple point games while Coyle's four-point night was a career best.
Minnesota was also efficient, scoring all seven on its goals on a total of 21 shots.
The win at Madison Square Garden was the 10th during a franchise record 12-game winning streak during the month of December. At the time, the victory surpassed the previous team record winning streak of nine games, which the Wild had tied the night before in Montreal.
4. Wild keeps streak alive with overtime thriller against Nashville (Dec. 27, 2016)
After going into Christmas with its winning streak intact, Minnesota emerged from the holiday with yet another road test, this time at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.
Because of rules prohibiting travel during the mandatory break, the Wild were forced to hop on a plane the day of its game in Nashville, making for a long afternoon and evening.
Parise returned to the lineup and got the Wild on the board in the first period. Chris Stewart made it 2-1 early in the second, only to see the Predators tie the game again a few minutes later.
Video: MIN@NSH: Spurgeon buries Schroeder's feed for OT win
After playing a scoreless third period, Minnesota extended its winning streak to 11 games on a beauty of a goal in overtime, as Jordan Schroeder -- seeing rare ice time in 3-on-3 -- set up Jared Spurgeon for a one-time blast that beat goaltender Pekka Rinne.
Minnesota returned home and beat the New York Islanders two nights later to run its winning streak to 12 before losing for the first time in nearly a month, falling 4-2 to Columbus on New Year's Eve.
3. Wild blanks Bruins to record first shutout of the season (Oct. 25, 2016)
For some reason, the Wild has had plenty of success at TD Garden over the years.
In 10 games in Beantown through the years, Minnesota has come away with a win on eight occasions, including its 5-0 shutout win there back in October.
After opening the season on the road in a loss to St. Louis, Minnesota swept a three-game homestand against Winnipeg, Los Angeles and Toronto to get back on track. Its momentum was quickly stalled, however, as the Wild lost the first two games (in New Jersey and the following night against the Islanders) of its first true road trip of the season.
Despite its winning record in Boston, counting on a victory against one of the East's best teams over the last decade is anything but a sure thing.
Instead, history provided an accurate projection.
Five different Wild players scored goals, including four in the second period. Goaltender Devan Dubnyk stopped 27 shots for his first of three consecutive shutouts as Minnesota halted its brief losing skid.
Minnesota finished off the sweep of the Bruins three weeks later in St. Paul, posting another shutout in a 1-0 win at Xcel Energy Center and improving its all-time mark against Boston to 14-4-2.
2. Minnesota finishes off sweep of defending champs with six-goal game (Nov. 25, 2016)
A couple weeks removed from a surprising 4-2 win in Pittsburgh, the Wild returned home to face the Penguins for a bout at Xcel Energy Center.
The win at PPG Paints Arena just 15 days earlier was rare; Pittsburgh had lost just 11 of 41 home games the year prior en route to a Stanley Cup championship. When the Wild won there on Nov. 10, it marked the first regulation loss on home ice for the Pens this season.
Later in the month, the Wild won again, scoring three times on the power play and building leads of 2-0 and 5-1 on its way to a 6-2 victory.
Video: PIT@MIN: Granlund toe drags, snaps in beautiful goal
It was a tough night for Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, who allowed all six goals on 36 shots. Fleury, a two-time Stanley Cup champion who led the Penguins to their championship win in 2009, dropped to 2-7 in nine games against the Wild in his career, posting an .880 save percentage and a 3.64 goals-against average in those games.
Nine different Wild players registered at least a point in the game, including a three-point effort by defenseman Jonas Brodin, the first such night of his career.
1. Minnesota wins a wild one in San Jose (Jan. 5, 2017)
While the Wild has had plenty of success in Boston through the years, one place it has struggled has been San Jose, where Minnesota won just nine of its first 29 trips.
Minnesota made it 10 in 30 in its first game of 2017, a thriller in which the Wild dug out from a pair of two-goal deficits in a 5-4 win at the Shark Tank.
After a scoreless first period seemed to indicate a low-scoring affair, the game got its first dose of offense in the form of a goal by Joonas Donskoi at 8:22 of the second. Three minutes later it was Joe Pavelski making it 2-0.
A late second-period goal by Eric Staal got the Wild on the board before Parise knotted it up at 2:08 of the third period.
The goal by Parise kicked off a crazy two-minute, 58-second stretch in which the teams combined for four goals.
Joel Ward gave the Sharks a 3-2 lead at 3:49 and Patrick Marleau made it a two-goal game again on a goal 32 seconds after that.
But the Wild wouldn't be denied. Staal scored his second of the night 45 seconds after Marleau's goal, pulling the Wild back within one goal.
It also set up the Wild captain for one of his biggest games of 2016-17.
Video: MIN@SJS: Koivu ties game, scores go-ahead goal in 3rd
Koivu scored a little more than three minutes later to pull Minnesota even, then finished off a pretty passing play by the Wild 1:55 after that, providing his team with its first lead of the night.
In all, the teams combined for nine goals over a span of nearly 22 minutes of hockey, a game that ended with the visitors victorious.