Tight schedule helping Wild, but what about goalie Niklas Backstrom?
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ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota Wild coach Mike Yeo thinks the shortened NHL season actually may be helping in his team's recent string of good play.
"I think one of the things that has really helped us is having as many games as we've had in a short period of time," Yeo said on Wednesday, as the Wild prepared for their game against Phoenix.
"We haven't had the opportunity to start feeling too good about ourselves, and it's allowed us to get right back on the horses and focus on the next one."
The Wild (19-10-2) are on a six-game winning streak and are fourth in the Western Conference with 40 points, two back of Vancouver for the Northwest Division lead.
"It almost has a bit of a playoff feel. You get into the playoffs and there's very little practice time," Yeo said. "You know, it's just a matter of making sure you have the most rest and finding a way to get refocused and pushing the last one aside, win or lose."
Said Wild center Mikko Koivu, "A lot of the nights, we've outworked the opponent and that's what we have to do. Every night is a big challenge, and I think it's a big key to being successful, especially on the road and we'll just try to keep that at home as well."
The tight schedule hasn't left much room to rest goalie Niklas Backstrom, who has started 11 consecutive games. The Wild have won nine of those games.
"I think we have to make it a priority that we get him rest and we're not wearing him down," Yeo said, "but he's a guy who takes phenomenal care of himself and prepares extremely well physically and mentally. We have to make sure in between game days we're giving him the opportunity to refuel his tank ...
"You want to put the best team on the ice. You want to give yourself the best chance to win and he's a guy the more he plays, the better he feels and the more of a groove he gets into."