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Statistically Speaking: Behind the Wild's offensive defense

After surpassing franchise record set only last year, Minnesota's defense aims for new heights

by Kayleigh Jackson /

"The best defense is a good offense," as the saying goes, but for the Wild, it could easily be flipped. 

With two defensemen on pace for career-high points this season and one who has already exceeded his own, the Minnesota Wild has no shortage of secondary scoring. Beyond a deep forward group that frequently allows coach Bruce Boudreau to roll at least three lines equally, the back end has already surpassed a franchise record for scoring. 

While that isn't so much due to goals alone, Minnesota's defense racked up 171 points in 69 games before being held scoreless against Colorado on Tuesday. Surpassing last season's record of 169 points, which came through all 82 games, Minnesota is now second in the League and hot on the tail of Nashville, who is first with 175 points from defensemen. 

Nashville, currently sitting atop the NHL with 100 points in the standings, is also a bastion of offensive defensemen, such as P.K. Subban and Roman Josi. 

Subban ranks seventh in the NHL among defensemen who have played 25 games or more with 51 points; meanwhile, Minnesota's Ryan Suter is 11th with 47 points. 

In the top 25 of that same criteria, Nashville also has Josi; Minnesota's Matt Dumba and Jared Spurgeon have also found their way there with 38 and 37 points, respectively. 

Of Minnesota's 363 assists this season, defensemen account for 136 of them. Suter, Dumba and Spurgeon, along with Eric Staal and Mikael Granlund, comprise the team's top five contributors. 

However, Spurgeon left Tuesday's game with what turned out to be a partially torn right hamstring, keeping him out of the lineup for at least four weeks and, presumably, the rest of the regular season. Despite the loss, Minnesota's defense appears to be set to continue chugging along. 

"Just keep doing what we're doing, there's nothing really too specific that you want to key in on," Dumba said recently of maintaining the blueline's success. "I think it's just all the little things that come together, and stay strong in our game."

The other teams that make up the top five for defensive scoring -- San Jose (157 points), Toronto (156) and Vegas (155) -- are all entrenched fairly firmly in the playoff bracket. With the playoff push ahead and the desire to secure a strong position for the postseason rampant around the League, the importance of a deep lineup that's able to score is clear.


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