Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford made 42 saves and single handedly crushed Minnesota’s hopes of winning a much needed game in attempt to crawl out of the funk that they find themselves in.
The question that I’m asking myself right now is if Crawford played outstanding or if the Wild are inept and couldn't find a way to score a couple of more goals?
Minnesota Makes Opposing Goalies Look Great
I think that most of the credit for Crawford’s performance should be attributed to the Minnesota Wild and their inability to score goals in this game and during this losing streak. At the start of the season, the Wild did a much better job scoring goals.
Now the Wild look like their previous selves, which is a team that pepper’s their opponent in net but magically and inexplicably can’t score. The Wild had a couple of can’t miss opportunities but hit the pipeandf made Corey look amazing.
This has been the formula for losses in more than just a few games this season. I could make a list of goalies that the Wild made look like future hall of famers but I won’t do that. It would take me too long to do so.
Not Only Top goalies that Crush the Wild
It’s not only top rated goalies that the Wild have made look great. They've made backups, newbies and goalies who have struggled up to the time of the game against them, look like standouts.
At some point the Minnesota Wild has to face facts that it’s not only their goaltending that’s letting this team down, it’s also the inconsistency in scoring goals every night that is also hurting this team.
Many NHL experts have commented on the Wild’s great improvement in scoring goals this season and while their has been good improvement in this area the Minnesota Wild ranks 15th in goals per game, scoring 2.74 goals per contest. That’s smack dab in the middle of the pack and not good enough for a team that needs to find ways to win games.
A Lot of Blame to Go Around
Now it’s true that the Wild’s goaltending has dropped off significantly from last season. The Wild were in the top seven in goals against last season and now they are in the bottom ten this season. It’s true that great goaltending could counter the team’s inability to score goals at times this season but putting all the pressure on the goalie hasn't worked in previous seasons (prior to 2013-14).
If the Wild were scoring tons of goals and their goalies were losing games, I would be putting all the blame on the goalies (who do deserve a lot of blame this season).
Blaming only the goalies is letting the team’s forwards and defenseman off the hook and while the Wild have been hammered by injuries and illnesses, the fact that they could only muster two goals when having 35+ shots in a game is horrid. If this was the first time this season where that happened, I wouldn’t be writing this article but it has happened multiple times before.
While many experts and analysts think the Wild outplayed and should have won the game last night against Chicago, the truth of the matter is that only one statistic counts and that’s the amount of goals that a team scores.
The Wild need to focus on outscoring their opponent and not just out shooting them.
This season is turning into a nightmare. There was so much promise for this club entering the 2014-15 campaign and the season is slowly evaporating away. The Wild can turn this around by winning games but it will be an uphill battle.
The team will need good goaltending but they will also need to score more than one or two goals in a game to have a chance at making the playoffs.