Reasonable Expectations: How Many Points will the Minnesota Wild Finish the Season with?

ANAHEIM, CA - NOVEMBER 13: Goaltender Niklas Backstrom #32 of the Minnesota Wild makes a save as Teemu Selanne #8 of the Anaheim Ducks, Justin Falk #44 of the Wild and Corey Perry #10 of the Ducks pursue in the third period at Honda Center on November 13, 2011 in Anaheim, California. The Wild defeated the Ducks 3-2. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Minnesota is off to a hot start, with 21 points in their first 17 games. Their numbers don't look substantially different than they did over the last three years aside from their 5-on-5 save percentage: (those are league-wide ranks, btw - Minnesota was 30th in the league in shots for in each of the last three seasons!)

Rank 5v5 5v5 5v5 5v5
SF/60 SA/60 Sdiff/60 SV% Pts/82
2011-12 27 21 25 1 (946) 101
2010-11 30 27 30 14 (921) 86
2009-10 30 16 25 22 (911) 84
2008-09 30 19 26 4 (925) 89
3yr Avg 30 21 27 13 (919) 86

The highest non-Tim Thomas-driven 5v5 save percentage over the last four seasons is 933, so you can be absolutely sure this is unsustainable. In fact, it's not clear that the Wild are any better than they've been for the last three seasons. So how will Minnesota do going forward?

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