Brodziak leads kings of the road

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 11, 2011 - 12:48 AM

The red-hot center's two goals led the Wild to its seventh in a row away from the X, making it the NHL's first 20-win team.

hide

Kyle Brodziak celebrated his first goal Saturday night, on a shot from the top of the left circle past Coyotes goalie Mike Smith.

Photo: Paul Connors, Associated Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

GLENDALE, ARIZ. — Kyle Brodziak is having himself one heck of a contract year ($$$).

In a season where so much was made about the additions of Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi, it's Brodziak, a 200-feet-of-ice laborer, who leads the Wild in goals at the 30-game mark.

Brodziak has 10 goals -- six from his career high -- after scoring twice for the second time in five games Saturday night to lead the blazing-hot, NHL-leading Wild to a 4-1 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes.

"Why not? Why couldn't he be?" coach Mike Yeo said of Brodziak leading in goals. "Because of the way he plays -- his attention to detail, his commitment to the system -- he comes back to the bench and every shift he feels good. He's confident and you kind of build momentum within your own game."

One game after becoming the first NHL team to top 40 points, the Wild became the first team to hit 20 victories. That didn't happen until Game 40 last season.

The Wild, which returned to Minnesota after the game for a day off, then Monday practice before its first-ever game in Winnipeg, swept its four-game West Coast swing.

It has won seven in a row overall and seven in a row on the road (10-3-2, most road points in the NHL at 22). It has won 17 of its past 21 and now has a four-point lead in the NHL and five-point lead in the Western Conference.

"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," Brodziak said.

"We're not where we want to be yet."

Niklas Backstrom, after getting over a wonky groin, returned to the cage and made 35 saves. His shutout bid was ruined with 3:57 left. Mikko Koivu and Heatley also scored, and Jared Spurgeon and Pierre-Marc Bouchard each had two assists.

"It's fun around these guys and it's been a lot of fun on this road trip and it's been a lot of fun the whole year, but we recognize, too," Koivu said, "when you work hard and get some wins, that's what makes it fun."

Brodziak is having fun, and his stock -- and eventual paycheck -- keeps rising for the potential unrestricted free agent. The heart-and-soul, blue-collar center who often does the underappreciated dirty work has suddenly caught fire offensively.

He scored two of the Wild's three power-play goals and is tied with Matt Cullen for fourth on the team with 17 points. He has five goals, two assists and a shootout winner in the past six games.

Brodziak's first goal Saturday came when he dived to a loose puck. His second came on a hustling wraparound.

"In the locker room, everyone really appreciated the way he plays," Backstrom said. "He plays a lot of minutes, he plays every situation, so it's fun to see him score some goals."

After a first period in which the Wild skated well, forced turnovers and suffocated on the forecheck, it fell into a shell in the second. But it still extended its lead from 1-0 to 3-0. Koivu's goal at 3:07 was a pretty one.

The captain snapped a one-timer off a Jeff Taffe pass after the Hastings native accepted an exceptional headman pass moments early from Apple Valley standout Mike Lundin.

The Wild had only three shots in the second period. It scored on its first two.

Hey, it's not the quantity. It's the quality, which describes the Wild's victories of late, too.

But there have been no celebrations, which perhaps is more impressive than the victories themselves.

"You can't stop," Koivu said.

  • related content

  • Sunday Insider: Florida Panthers are somebody again

    Saturday December 10, 2011

    An aggressive front office led by General Manager Dale Tallon has brought the Panthers out of obscurity.

  • Tippett recalls young Yeo's fire

    Saturday December 10, 2011

    Dave Tippett looked to his left from the Phoenix Coyotes bench Saturday night and saw an abundantly familiar Wild coaching staff.

  • Chart: Wild's road roll

    Sunday December 11, 2011

    The Wild extended their franchise-record road winning streak to seven games Saturday with a 4-1 victory at Phoenix. A look...

  • Game recap: Wild 4, Phoenix 1

    Saturday December 10, 2011

    1. Kyle Brodziak, Wild: Notched his ninth career two-goal game (both on the power play).

  • WILD 4, PHOENIX 1 • Up next: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Winnipeg • TV: FSN (100.3-FM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

San Francisco 7 Top 8th Inning
Pittsburgh 0
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Denver
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington
Washington 1 FINAL
Buffalo 6
Carolina 3 FINAL
Columbus 6
Pittsburgh 2 FINAL
Detroit 0
Montreal 2 3rd Prd 5:53
Chicago 1
Arizona 2 3rd Prd
Edmonton 2
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
FIU
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Syracuse
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Army
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Maryland
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Indiana
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Texas
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Clemson
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Colorado
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rutgers
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rice
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Kentucky
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Virginia
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which local pro team are you most excited about?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close