Yet, given the losses they’ve suffered among defensemen, the ranking is admirable.
Another is the team’s offensive-minded philosophy.
“It starts at the top, and if the top guys are getting puck deep, there’s no excuse for anyone not to,” fourth-line forward Matt Beleskey said Wednesday morning following the team’s skate preparing for the night’s game against the visiting Minnesota Wild. “The way our system is, anyone can step in and play.
“It’s not difficult. Hard work, get the puck deep. It’s an easy system to execute as long as you work hard.”
“If the pucks in their end, they can’t score,” Beleskey said. “If we can work teams down low, then they get tired and have to change when they’re on offense.
“Obviously, defensively we try to protect the posts … we’re doing well against top lines."
“If you outwork a team, you’re going to be succesful … it doesn’t matter who you have in the lineup,” Beleskey said.
MORE PAIN: Defenseman Mark Fistric and Beauchemin (upper body injuries) won't play Wednesday, Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau said.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if,” Beauchemin “is playing in Detroit” on Tuesday, Boudreau said.
HILLER THE MAN: Hiller left the ice first Wednesday, and should get his fifth start in six games.
ROAD WEARY: Minnesota (18-9-5) is getting solid goaltending from Josh Harding (16 wins, 1.50 goals-against average), but the Wild have won just five of 14 road games and have been outscored 42-28 away from home.
“Every game is almost a one-goal game,” Boudreau cautioned. “Mental toughness is going to be a big part of this game, and if you don’t have everyone playing, you’re going to be in trouble.”