You know the hockey saying, he shoots he scores? For the Minnesota Wild it was the opposite on Tuesday night against the Nashville Predators. It was more like he shoots, he doesn't score. The Wild outshot the Predators 30 to 26 but was only able to net one goal. The Wild went on to lose the game 3-1. The Wild will have to net more goals to have a chance of winning games.
The game was tight tonight. While the Predators got off to a poor start and looked sluggish for most of the first period, they regrouped and found a way to capitalize on Wild mistakes. The biggest mistake came with a little over eight minutes to go. Nashville capitalized on an errant pass in the offensive zone. The puck went all the way back into the Wild zone. Backstrom came out of his net to try and clear the puck but Martin Erat of the Predators was jolly on the spot and easily scored a goal into the empty net.
As I mentioned earlier, the Wild couldn't capitalize on their chances. Nashville goaltender Chris Mason gave up the rebounds but the Wild were just a hair off target tonight. While Zach Parise and Dany Heatley missed on a number if chances, they put forth a great effort. You can feel that Dany and Zach are close to building chemistry with each other.
I could sit here and be critical of the Wild but there are signs that the Wild are close to firing on all cylinders. The Wild has good goaltending and a great defense. When the scoring comes, the Wild will be a very tough team to beat.
I think what we saw tonight is a team still in conditioning mode. Their natural extincts are a little off and it won't take long or that to change. I really do have a good feeling that the Wild's top line will start lighting it up soon. They are very close.
In fact the whole team is close to being in top form. The Wild has a good lineup. They will be a top tier team this season and more importantly they will be nearly impossible to beat at home. I might be a homer but this is the most positive that I've felt about a Wild team in years.
I think the Wild still needs to develop their chemistry and get into game shape. That's to be expected after coming of a long layoff and lockout. The Wild aren't the only team in that boat. Let's not forget that this is only the third game of the season.