Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Finally a Road Victory for the Minnesota Wild But Scoring is a Problem

Article written by Sportmentary - Editor in Chief Sportmentary Online Sports Talk
The Minnesota Wild finally got their road victory. It has been a long time coming and the Wild had to work for this victory. In what was an otherwise boring affair in Calgary on Monday night, the Wild found a way to earn the victory in the shootout against the Calgary Flames.

This wasn't only a conference matchup but a divisional one as well, so earning the extra point was important and it keeps them closer to the Vancouver Canucks who are likely to skate away with the top spot come playoff time. So the Wild are chasing the eighth and final spot and they will have to do much better than they are now.

While earning a victory on the road can never be sneered at the Wild looked to their netminder Niklas Backstrom who backstopped them to the victory. It is becoming more and more frustrating watching this club.

The two areas that worry me are:
Lack of goal production - The Wild are scoring two goals a game which is good enough to be ranked 29th out of the 30 NHL teams. That isn't going to get a team to the playoffs, even if they are among the leaders in not allowing too many goals per game (2.50). As you can see, even with a good defense and good goaltending the Wild are in the hole in the goal differential department.

It's not only the need to create chances that the Wild need to focus on its also capitalizing on those chances when they do become available. That's something that only Zack Parise seems good at.

Get the Puck out of here - Yes, get the puck out of your own end. Defenseman Ryan Suter can't play the whole game. The Wild have had fits at times, clowning around in their won end or being lazy with the puck. Their pretty play has burned them and there are times in every game where it seems like a third of the period is being played in their end of the ice.

It only takes a little mistake and the Wild will be chasing the puck. They need to get back to basics and learn how to clear their zone. Their inconsistency in this area is incredibly frustrating.

A road victory was nice, even if it took the shootout to do it. Backstrom was strong again but the team needs to score more goals and take some of the pressure off him.

The Wild face the Vancouver Cancucks on the road in their next game. The Wild will have to find a way to score a few goals if they have a chance to win the game. My prediction is a 7-1 thrashing at the hands of the Canucks. Sorry Wild fans, there's nothing that gives me any confidence that the Wild can win this game and it pains me to say that.

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