Eric Staal, Wild’s offense finally breaks through
Eric Staal, Wild forward (↑ UP)
Staal is finally on the board. The veteran had a hand in all three of the Wild’s goals during a shutout win over the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday, including his first two goals of the season. Staal picked up his first point of the season during the Wild’s win over Montreal on Sunday. They’ll need a bit more out of the 34-year-old, who scored 22 goals last season, if the offense is going to keep it up.
Brad Hunt, Wild defenseman (↑ UP)
The Wild’s improbable leading scorer through nine games, Hunt scored his fourth of the season during Minnesota’s win over Edmonton. Hunt, 31, started his NHL career with the Oilers in 2014 and has never scored more than five goals in a single season. A product of nearby Bemidji State, Hunt is tied for second amongst NHL defensemen in goals so far.
Kirk Cousins, Vikings quarterback (↑ UP)
A few weeks after hitting rock bottom as a passer, Cousins is looking like one of the best quarterbacks in the league. He threw for 337 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Vikings past the Lions on Sunday, a week after posting nearly identical numbers against the Eagles. He’s up to 976 passing yards and 10 touchdowns with a 142.6 passer rating over his last three games. Cousins’ rankings over that span: First in passing touchdowns, yards per attempt and passer rating, third in passing yards and third in completion percentage.
Marcus Sherels, former Vikings specialist (↓ DOWN)
Sherels’ return to Minnesota lasted just three games. The Vikings released their all-time leader in punt-return touchdowns Tuesday less than a month after signing him. Signed after Chad Beebe went down with an ankle injury last month, Sherels was inactive for Sunday’s game against Detroit.
Dalvin Cook, Vikings running back (↑ UP)
Cook has been overshadowed slightly over the last few weeks by Cousins’ resurgence, but he continues to pile up rushing yards. The NFL’s rushing leader heading into Week 8, Cook went off again against the Lions, racking up 142 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries. He’s rushed for 100-plus yards five times already this season, and is up to 725 rushing yards on the year.
Alex Stalock, Wild goalie (↑ UP)
Stalock stopped all 16 shots he faced in relief of the injured Devan Dubnyk on Tuesday during the Wild’s win over the Oilers. The Wild’s backup goaltender has already made four appearances this season and has a .944 save percentage at even strength after shutting out the Ottawa Senators last week.
Devan Dubnyk, Wild goalie (↓ DOWN)
Dubnyk exited the Wild’s win over the Oilers after Edmonton’s Brandon Manning crashed into the net during the second period. The Wild’s starting goalie since 2015, Dubnyk has been one of the busiest goaltenders in the league over that span; He leads all NHL goalies with 266 games played over the past four seasons. Dubnyk has struggled this season, however, with a .908 even-strength save percentage through five starts.
Casey O’Brien, Gophers holder (↑ UP)
A redshirt sophomore and four-time cancer survivor, O’Brien was named the Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week after making his Gophers debut Saturday against Rutgers. O’Brien held on three extra-point tries in the fourth quarter, helping the Gophers to a 42-7 win.