In the numerous times he's been asked about Ryan Suter during the first three weeks of the Wild's season, coach Mike Yeo repeatedly has based his critique of the $98 million defenseman in the subtle, immeasurable aspects of his game --which was probably a good approach, because the raw numbers weren't going to help him much.

Suter had a plus-minus rating of minus-7 in the Wild's first 11 games, struggling in his first few games and getting burned on several occasions when he happened to be on the ice for a goal. Yeo downplayed the statistic when asked about it again Monday, Feb. 11, saying the defenseman fared much better in the Wild's proprietary metrics -- like how many scoring chances the team generated with him on the ice -- and insisted Suter had made a bigger difference to the Wild's defense than coarse numbers would suggest.

On Monday night, as the Wild scuffled again on the road, Suter made one of his best exhibits of his effectiveness. And this time, his plus-minus rating got a little boost.

It was Suter's decision to pinch into the Wild's offensive zone, deflecting Jiri Hudler's attempt to clear a puck, that set up Minnesota's only regulation goal in a 2-1 shootout win over the Calgary Flames. And on a night when the Wild badly needed a road win, it again appeared like they might have found a No. 1 defensive pairing to build on.