The Wild (23-17-9) said good riddance to January, and a 3-7-3 record, with a 2-1 shootout loss at home Monday to Arizona. They had the game won. Almost. Up 1-0 on the power play with less than a couple minutes left looked pretty good. Instead, goalie Devan Dubnyk made a blunder playing the puck behind the net, resulting in the tying goal into an empty net.
Overtime resulted in nothing, leading to just the second shootout this season for the Wild. Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu and Charlie Coyle all failed to score. It was a pretty brutal way to lose and head into a full seven days off.
This will be a game to come back to if the Wild misses the playoffs. An unacceptable loss. And I don’t think anyone cares that they got a “loser point.”
No question: This is the slump
In my last post, I posed the question: Is this the annual mid-season slump for the Wild? My answer was, and still is, yes.
The Wild lost five in a row before a win in Los Angeles. Could things be looking up? As it turned out, no. They gave up the winning goal in San Jose with less than two minutes remaining. That hurt. Then, they returned home for one more game, a chance to get on the winning track. But despite a smattering of shots in the first two periods, the game against the Coyotes was scoreless.
They’re not scoring. Period. Sure, they had three in San Jose and three in the win against the Kings. But overall, the offensive numbers aren’t good. They were shut out twice in a row. No one is really stepping up to carry this team. Coyle is the only one who’s doing something at the moment, scoring three games in a row for a total of 13 goals on the season.
Not getting it done
Parise is stuck with linemates Mikael Granlund and Jason Pominville, players who are taking more and more heat for their performances on the ice. Rightfully so. They are fixtures on the top line and power play, with terrible numbers to show for it.
Granlund has been a turnover machine lately, not to mention making bad decisions with the puck. I think there was one game where he was involved in three two-on-ones but somehow managed to screw up a pass or mishandle the puck each time. He has four goals this season, the last one being an empty netter.
Pominville has him beat with five goals. Not good enough for a guy that was brought in to score goals. He’s struggled from the start of the season, taking seemingly forever to enter his first tally.
While the whole team is slumping, it’s easy to point fingers at these two for what they are, or are not, bringing to the team. I’m seeing more and more fans turn against them.
Wanna get away?
The Wild has the longest break in the league with a week off. Just another great scheduling issue to discuss another time. So we’ll see how the break goes for them. The first game or two will determine a lot. It could be an All-Star Break hangover loss before they get back on track, they could start out with a bang right away or continue the skid.
They’re on the playoff bubble, after being in the top wild card spot for weeks. Not that being on the edge is anything new to this team. It’s what they seem to do time and time again; fight for a spot and sneak in. Would the Wild even know what to do with home ice advantage?
Anyway, last season, the Wild had Dubnyk come in and save the season. It was amazing and something that can’t be repeated. That kind of answer is not coming this season. The guys in the locker room need to find the answers.
If they don’t, they’ll miss the playoffs and take another step backward when they should be moving forward.