Before the 2011-12 NHL season started, it's likely that not very many people (read: hardly anyone, if anyone) saw the Minnesota Wild competing for a conference title, let alone a playoff spot. But through two months, the Wild are doing just that.
A 3-2 shootout win over the Edmonton Oilers Wednesday had the Wild finish the month of November with a 12-3-0 record, a franchise-best. Also, the Wild are the best team in the NHL; their 15-7-3 record is one point better than the Pittsburgh Penguins.
How did it happen? Not through offense (which may be surprising considering their offensive talent: Dany Heatley, Devin Setoguchi, et al.)i; the Wild only score 2.24 goals per game, 27th in the NHL. It's their defense that is shutting the opposition down. Minnesota allows only 2.16 GA/G, fourth-best in the league. Niklas Backstorm's 2.07 GAA is solid as well; the Wild allowed one goal or less in six games last month.