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POSTED ON Thursday, 05.19.2016 / 3:41 PM CT
By Evan Sporer - Digital Content Coordinator / View From the Lighthouse

Forward Mikael Granlund had two goals, linemate Mikko Koivu had two assists, and Finland won its quarterfinal game against Denmark, 5-1, at the 2016 IIHF World Championship.

Granlund scored Finland's first and last goal. He broke a scoreless tie 14:29 into the first period when he snuck a shot just inside the far post and under the crossbar. Koivu picked up the primary assist.

Finland led 2-0 before Denmark cut its deficit back to a goal midway through the second period.

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POSTED ON Thursday, 05.19.2016 / 9:00 AM CT
By Evan Sporer - Digital Content Coordinator / View From the Lighthouse

Over the next few months, Wild.com will take a closer look at some of the areas of the Minnesota Wild's 2015-16 season, from players, to systems, and everything between.

Perhaps the only thing more comforting than the 22-minute-plus safety net Jared Spurgeon provides the Minnesota Wild game-in and game-out is the stability that comes with Spurgeon's recent contract extension.

Spurgeon, who has blossomed into one of the NHL's most consistent and reliable defensemen, had the efficiency acknowledged this season when he signed a four-year contract extension that kicks in the upcoming NHL year.

Though he had a career offensive season, Spurgeon's contributions — both offensive and defensive — extend far past what's in an average box score.

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POSTED ON Wednesday, 05.18.2016 / 9:00 AM CT
By Evan Sporer - Digital Content Coordinator / View From the Lighthouse

Over the next few months, Wild.com will take a closer look at some of the areas of the Minnesota Wild's 2015-16 season, from players, to systems, and everything between.

Though it found itself near the bottom-third in the NHL in scoring, a stout defensive year saw the Wild finish 10th in five-on-five goal differential this season, an indication of some of the even-strength success the Wild was able to sustain.

Year-to-year, the Wild's even-strength scoring dipped, from 165 goals-for two seasons ago, to 139 in 2015-16.

A few likely culprits for the decline included a drop in shooting percentage (8.5 to 7.6) and lower puck possession numbers (a 51.4% score-adjusted shot-attempts percentage to 48.0%).

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 05.17.2016 / 3:24 PM CT
By Evan Sporer - Digital Content Coordinator / View From the Lighthouse

Forward Mikael Granlund had an assist, and Finland defeated Canada 4-0 on Tuesday to finish group play undefeated at the 2016 IIHF World Championship.

The final game before the quarterfinal round, both teams entered their seventh game undefeated, tied atop Group B. Granlund assisted on Finland's second goal with 3:57 remaining in the second period when he hit Leo Komarov with a pass after Canada turned the puck over in the neutral zone.

Finland forward and Minnesota Wild captain Mikko Koivu did not record a point, the first time in the 2016 tournament he has been held scoreless. Granlund finished with nine points in seven group games, tied for fourth in scoring. Koivu had seven points in seven games, and finished tied for eighth with four goals.

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POSTED ON Monday, 05.16.2016 / 9:53 AM CT
By Evan Sporer - Digital Content Coordinator / View From the Lighthouse

Forward Mikko Koivu scored a power-play goal, linemate Mikael Granlund had a game-high five shots on goal, and Finland defeated Slovakia 5-0 on Sunday to remain undefeated (6-0-0-0) at the 2016 IIHF World Championship.

It was the first time in six games this tournament Granlund has been held without a point. Koivu, who is tied for 10th in scoring, and fifth in goals, gave Finland a 1-0 lead, providing the eventual game-winning goal 10:07 into the second period.

Koivu has at least a point in each of Finland’s games at the 2016 tournament.

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POSTED ON Friday, 05.13.2016 / 12:12 PM CT
By Evan Sporer - Digital Content Coordinator / View From the Lighthouse

Forward Jordan Schroeder was a plus-one with a shot on goal, and the United States won its second game in as many days on Friday when it defeated Hungary 5-1 at the 2016 IIHF World Championship.

After alternating losses and wins to open its first four games of the tournament, the United States strung together its first winning streak on Friday when four different players scored.

The Americans led 5-0 before Hungary broke New Jersey Devils goaltender Keith Kinkaid's shutout bid with 2:01 remaining in regulation. Columbus Blue Jackets forward Nick Foligno led the United States offensively with two goals and an assist.

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POSTED ON Friday, 05.13.2016 / 10:27 AM CT
By Evan Sporer - Digital Content Coordinator / View From the Lighthouse

Minnesota Wild forward Mikael Granlund is lauded for his playmaking ability and vision, seeing plays open up paces before they happen.

It's the type of player Granlund has always been. Five years ago, as a 19-year-old, that profile was never more apparent when Granlund scored what is considered one of the greatest goals in the history of the IIHF World Championship.

With Finland taking on Russia, Granlund gained possession below the icing line. After stick-handling past one defenseman, in one motion, Granlund angled the puck onto his stick blade, circled out from below the goal, and lifted the puck under the crossbar bar with a lacrosse-style wrap-around that earned Granlund a place on a stamp in Finland.

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POSTED ON Friday, 05.13.2016 / 10:04 AM CT
By Evan Sporer - Digital Content Coordinator / View From the Lighthouse

Though Bruce Boudreau is quick to credit a commitment to the defensive side of the game when it comes to the 2015-16 turnaround for the Anaheim Ducks, another element of his former team's game was undoubtedly critical in its success.

And it's one that Boudreau is hoping to bring with him to the Midwest and his new club.

The Ducks became the first team since the 1984-85 New York Islanders to lead the NHL in both power-play and penalty-kill percentage.

Add in the Ducks were the stingiest defensive team, allowing the fewest goals in the regular season, and Anaheim was strong in three elements of its game that are vital to success.

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POSTED ON Thursday, 05.12.2016 / 9:45 AM CT
By Evan Sporer - Digital Content Coordinator / View From the Lighthouse

Forward Nino Niederreiter scored twice on the power play, and Switzerland won its second straight at the 2016 IIHF Championship. Defeating Latvia 5-4 on Wednesday.

Niederreiter, now on a three-game point streak at the tournament, broke open the scoring with a pair of goals in the second period.

His first came at the 3:33 mark, giving Switzerland a 1-0 lead.

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POSTED ON Tuesday, 05.10.2016 / 2:55 PM CT
By Evan Sporer - Digital Content Coordinator / View From the Lighthouse

When it comes to the Minnesota Wild's 2015-16 season, General Manager Chuck Fletcher said there was a buy-in amiss, not a character issue, or a chemistry problem.

In Bruce Boudreau, Fletcher said he feels he has the right salesman for the job.

On Tuesday, Boudreau was formally introduced to the media by Fletcher for the first time since Boudreau accepted the Wild's head coaching job on Saturday, becoming the fifth man to hold the position in the franchise's history.

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