Back to life, back to reality
Image courtesy of Brad Rempel-USA TODAY SportsNow, it's pretty hard to sustain these goal outbursts for a long period of time. Once again though, this team proves it only rides at the very top and very bottom of the roller coaster. Not much in between.
The Wild were near the top of the NHL is goal scoring. Then the schedule fairy gave the boys big gaps between games (not making excuses here) and the scoring scaled way back. They sat in 19th in the goals-for category when I checked Monday night.
Take a look at the game scores
They started November with a 2-1 loss to the buddies of Buffalo, then a 1-0 loss in Colorado. Then there was a 4-2 victory over the Penguins. Huge win there. Right back down with a 3-2 loss in Philly. A 2-1 overtime win over the Senators was a breath of fresh air, since the Wild have struggled in the 3-on-3 format.
Then another 1-0 loss, this time to Calgary at home. They went nearly two games without a goal before a 1-0 victory when Boston came to town.
Really, the 1-0 victory over the Bruins last Thursday didn't feel like much of a celebration either. The Wild scored the goal with less than a minute left in the game, and it didn't even go in from a Wild player's stick. It went in off the opposing players. Part of me thought it was refreshing, since those types of goals usually get scored against the Wild. Not the other way around.
Anyway, that game felt like an overtime loss waiting to happen. So they squeaked away with the two points. Similarly, the 3-2 overtime loss in Dallas didn’t feel like much to write home about either. Two comebacks and getting the “moral victory” point. Big deal.
Of course, things were bad (and perhaps worse) with the 3-2 loss to the Avs Saturday. At home. Against a divisional foe. Ugh. The final score wasn't really the worst part. It was the fact that the Wild were up 2-0 before apparently deciding the dreaded two-goal lead was enough to coast through most of the third period.
Who’s carrying the team?
What I really want to touch on is the shift in scoring. Coach Bruce Boudreau bluntly addressed this in his presser of frustration after Saturday's loss. "When was the last time any of us had a multi-point game?”
He's got a point. Teams won't get too far in this league without some depth and guys that can have those multi-point games. Mikko Koivu has two goals so far this season – the same tally as Zach Parise (who’s been out a few games with an injury) and tough guy Chris Stewart. Jason Pominville has three goals. Charlie Coyle and Eric Staal lead the team with five goals apiece.
I'm trying to figure out what the problem is here. And I know if we could snap our fingers and fix it, we wouldn’t be here. Is it the lackluster power play? All those shots that go wide of the net? The shots they don't take? Just being the ever-popular "snake-bit"? I don't know. Maybe it’s the same old idea that this team just doesn’t have the finishers. It seems like we talk in circles with this.
I've grown so accustomed to watching this team that I'm not sure if this is a problem that is with the Wild or is something that all teams struggle through at some point in a season.
I see a lot of the same habits. Shots going wide, guys just not being able to pull the trigger in front of the net, waiting just another split second before shooting from the point, which allows the defender to predict it and usually block or deflect it.
These things are part of the game and will happen. It's just that everything obviously gets magnified when a team has trouble scoring goals.
So it goes with the Wild’s lack of scoring. We’ll just continue to be frustrated until they figure it out for a little while.
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