Minnesota Wild fans were on top of the world when the calendar flipped from November to December in 2011. That's because their favorite hockey team had the league's best record, and were on a roll under first-year coach Mike Yeo. No, the Wild weren't scoring a bunch of goals, but they were playing strong defense, getting great goaltending, and getting enough pucks in the net to win games.
There were warts, however. The Wild were making a habit out of getting outshot, often by a pretty good margin. They also weren't very deep, to the point where one or two injuries at the wrong position had the potential to sink the ship as quickly as Yeo appeared to get it floating again.
And then came the injuries. Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Guillaume Latendresse were concussion casualties. Devin Setoguchi was banged up. Mikko Koivu couldn't stay healthy. Goalies Niklas Backstrom and Josh Harding both got hurt, forcing the Wild to use youngster Matt Hackett more than they wanted to.