Staal scored his 30th goal of the season Sunday to lead the Wild to a win over the San Jose Sharks, a few days after registering his 900th career point. He had seven points in four games last week, enough to earn First Star of the Week honors from the NHL. He followed it up with his first hat trick in more than five years, posting a whopping five points Monday in a win over the St. Louis Blues. Staal, Mikael Granlund and Jason Zucker have formed one of the league's best scoring lines, and now have a combined 11 goals and 15 assists in three games together.
Kennys Vargas, Twins first baseman (↓ DOWN)
Uh-oh. The Logan Morrison signing is an ominous one for Vargas, who made 78 appearances for the Twins last season, splitting time between first base and designated hitter. Morrison just so happens to fit best at both spots and hit a career-high 38 home runs last year for the Tampa Bay Rays. With Joe Mauer playing Gold Glove-type defense at first and Grossman in the mix at DH, Vargas and the Twins could be on the outs.
USA TODAY SportsBrad Rempel
Curling, your new favorite Olympic sport (↑ UP)
This most Minnesotan of ice sports is finally getting its moment. The men of Team Shuster returned to the Midwest as rockstars after pulling off the "Miracurl on Ice," trouncing Canada and ultimately Sweden to secure the U.S. its first curling gold. Tyler George, John Landsteiner, Joe Polo and skip John Shuster are all members of the Duluth Curling Club, and the city seemingly hasn't stopped celebrating since their historic win.
Jimmy Butler, Wolves forward (↓ DOWN)
Plenty of people feared the worst when Butler went down clutching his right knee Friday during a loss to the Houston Rockets. An MRI alleviated fears about his ACL -- it's fine -- but a meniscus injury could keep Butler out until the playoffs at the earliest. With just two games separating the third-place Wolves and the seventh-place Oklahoma City Thunder, the playoff picture could start looking dicey in a hurry.
USA TODAY SportsTroy Taormina
Mike Reilly, former Wild defenseman (↑ UP)
The former Gophers star was shipped to the Montreal Canadiens for a fifth-round pick at the trade deadline Monday, three years after signing with the Wild. Reilly has struggled to crack the Wild's deep blue line this season, and had appeared in just 38 games so far this season, posting 10 points. He's likely to play plenty for Montreal down the stretch, which traded away defenseman Joe Morrow at the deadline.
The U.S. women's Olympic hockey team (↑ UP)
They beat Canada. You watched the game. I watched the game. Ellen watched the game. We all watched the game. Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson scored the shootout-winning goal with a deke called the "Oops I Did It Again," and Duluth goalie Maddie Rooney made the final save to finish Canada off. You know this. I know this. But still, it deserves to be here, because MY GOODNESS what a hockey game.
USA TODAY SportsAndrew Nelles
The Gophers men's hockey team (↓ DOWN)
The Gophers have just two days to figure out how to beat Penn State. The Nittany Lions denied Minnesota one of the Big Ten's three home playoff spots over the weekend, sweeping the Gophers 5-1, 5-2 and setting up a rematch next weekend in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament. Penn State outshot Minnesota a mind-boggling 61-15 on Friday, and while things evened out a bit Saturday, it's a worrying development for a team that had gone 6-1-1 in its previous eight games.