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10 things to raise your Minnesota sports holiday cheer

It's a depressing Monday thanks to the Vikings, Wolves and Gopher football team, but there are plenty of reasons for optimism.
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For Minnesota sports fans, this is certainly a tough Monday. Any real hope of the Vikings reaching the playoffs ended with Sunday's 34-6 pounding at the hands of the Indianapolis Colts. And the Timberwolves are mired in a season to forget, losers in 12 of the last 15 games – including a season low Saturday against Houston – and near the bottom of the NBA's Western Conference.

However, there is reason for fans to have some optimism and it fittingly comes on ice. Here are 10 things to be excited about:

1. Seven in a row for Boudreau

The Wild are riding a seven-game winning streak. The third time the franchise has won that many games in a row and team's longest since 2013. The longest winning streak in Wild franchise history is nine games dating back to March 2007.

2. Streak could continue

The Wild can stretch that run when it hosts Colorado Tuesday night at Xcel Energy Center. It may only get better for the Wild. In head coach Bruce Boudreau's career, he has had multiple winning streaks from seven to as many as 14 games in length.

3. Wild don't get blown out

The Wild haven't lost in as lopsided fashion as the Vikings this season. Eleven of their 12 losses are by one goal. The lone stinker was a 6-3 loss to the Islanders on Oct. 23. In fact, the Vikings lost for the 13th time by at least 28 points since the now-infamous "41-donut" on Jan. 14, 2001. Even the lowly Cleveland Browns have only lost 10 games by at least 28 points since 41-donut.

4. Get well, Mr. Carew

Twins legend Rod Carew had a successful heart and kidney transplant last week.

5. Wild score first then rely on Dubnyk

In the past 12 games, the Wild have scored the first goal ten times. Once they get a lead they're tough to beat. And that has a lot to do with goalie Devan Dubnyk leading the league in save percentage (.947) and goals-against average (1.62).

6. Everyone is contributing

Every Wild player is playing a part in the winning streak. Reserve goalie Darcy Kuemper secured his first win since Nov. 13th with 27 saves against Arizona Saturday.

7. Gophers basketball might be good

Richard Pitino's Gophers have more wins this season than they had all of last season. At 11-1, Minnesota wraps up the non-conference schedule versus Arkansas State on Friday and then the Big Ten grind begins next Tuesday against Michigan State.

8. A winning December

Wild fans are hoping the annual winter losing swoon that has gripped the team over the past few seasons has played out with this new Boudreau regime. Knock on wood

9. Gopher volleyball went to the Final Four

This story deserved a lot more play than it got. Minnesota went to its second straight Final Four before losing to Stanford. A lot of this was lost in the cloud of Gopher football controversy over the last handful of days.

10. You're saving a ton of money

Wild season ticket holders, who also carry Vikings season tickets, won't have to shell out major money for playoff tickets.

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