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POSTED ON Friday, 05.20.2016 / 4:30 PM CT
By Evan Sporer - Digital Content Coordinator / View From the Lighthouse

The Minnesota Wild is made up of hockey players from across the globe. One of those players and his family was personally affected by the forest fires in McMurray, Alberta. Now, he and his teammates are doing their part to help give back.

The Alberta forest fires, which began May 1, have displaced thousands of local residents, causing some to lose their homes and seek shelter. Over 80,000 evacuees have been registered in two-plus weeks.

Among those affected include the parents of Danielle Spurgeon, wife of Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon. Her parents lost their west Edmonton home in the fires.

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POSTED ON Friday, 05.20.2016 / 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.

When Erik Haula found his stride this season, the Minnesota Wild began to click.

Like the makeup of the Wild, Haula embodies many of characteristics Minnesota feels are core to its identity: A fast skater, aggressively irritating defensively, and, hard to play against.

Haula skated in 76 games for the 2015-16 season, a career high, but really found his niche when former interim Head Coach John Torchetti took over in February.

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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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