Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Minnesota Wild Look Worse after the All Star Break

When the Minnesota Wild entered the All Star break last week, the break couldn’t have come too soon. The team was spiraling out of control and were in search of a victory. No matter what they did they couldn’t score a goal. It didn’t matter how many shots and good scoring chances the team had, they couldn’t score.

For fans who think that the lack of scoring is an anomaly, you can go back a few years and see that the Wild seem to have long streaks of being unable to score. In those scoring droughts, the Wild have had many games where they’ve outplayed their opponents, outshot their opponents and out chanced their opponents, only to come away with a big fat L in the loss column.

The team’s inability to score has been well documented as of late this season and in previous years. The Wild have made opposing goalies look like Vezina Trophy candidates. Instead of ripping into players in previous years, the media has heralded the great goaltending of opposing goalies.

Now It’s time to rip the team’s players. I will say what I’ve said in the past. Who cares about how many shots on goal you have? Score a darn goal and I will be happy. I’d rather the Wild have 5 shots on net, score three goals and win a game than have them outshoot their opponents 40-18 and lose the game 3-1.

More of the Same

Wild fans were eager to see what version of the Minnesota Wild would take the ice last night against the New York Islanders. In the first period, it was more of the same, except the Wild managed a goal out of twenty shots. They seemed in control but still showed the inability to score goals.

With the way the team is playing right now, one goal on twenty shots is not going to cut it. They can’t win games that way. Recent history has shown the Wild that their opponents will score more than just a goal or two and even when the Wild give up only two goals, they can’t score more than a goal. So they will and still lose.

I was really worried that the Wild were in for another rude awakening. I was afraid that they allowed a team to remain nonexistent through a period but due to not being able to take control of the game (via the scoreboard) that the Islanders would take advantage of that and decide to be more competitive in the following two periods.

That’s exactly what happened and that has been the blueprint for Wild opponents in the past month. New York came on strong in the second period and limited the Wild to less than ten shots. They scored two goals before the Wild would score an equalizer with under two minutes to play in the second period.

I was worried that the Wild would fail to take advantage of the momentum that a late goal gives most hockey teams. Less than a minute later, the Wild gave up the Islanders’ third goal of the game  and it seemed as if the Wild were a balloon that had been popped.

I didn’t have much confidence that the Wild would play a good third period. The team had just fallen apart and the Islanders have had some decent third periods this season.

Disaster Continues for the Minnesota Wild

The Islanders did what good teams do. They came out strong to start the third period. The New York Islanders scored two goals in less than five minutes into the third period and with that the Wild were done. The chances of the Wild scoring three goals in 15 minutes when they couldn’t score more than two goals in forty minutes were slim to none.

The Wild did manage a goal to make the score look respectable and to provide some false hope for Wild fans who might think that the Wild scoring machine was back in action. Note to fans: The Wild will have difficulty scoring three goals consistently and the only hope that they have is if Devan Dubnyk has shutout after shutout after shutout, so the team can win games 1-0 or 2-1.

Don’t Count on another Wild Finish to the Season for Minnesota

Minnesota Wild fans are counting or praying for another strong and improbable finish to the season for the Wild. They seem to expect that the Wild will be in the playoffs come April. While the Wild have pulled a rabbit out of the figurative NHL hat the previous two seasons, I don’t think that it will happen this year.

Good teams are consistent. Sure they have minor slumps here and there but they don’t have the crazy swings that the Wild have. It takes a lot out of a team to be able to put together a full two months of having to win almost every game and if they miraculously do that again this year, they will have almost nothing left in their tank.

The Wild entered the season with high hopes and expectations. They had a good first half of the season, their best start to a season. The Wild lulled us all into a false sense of security and led us to believe that something was different this season.

Then like a lightning bolt that struck the team’s fans, the Wild went into a terrible slump and haven’t recovered. They are likely to be a mediocre team at best for the remainder of the season.

As a Wild fan, this is the worst possible situation. This is a team that had a lot of promise. They seemed to have turned the corner and were scoring goals and winning games. Now this? I seriously feel like I’ve wasted a number of evenings/nights watching this team. My time, like anyone else’s is precious to me. Some of the games that Wild fans have had to endure is not only pathetic it’s almost unforgivable.

Maybe the Wild will surprise me once again find a way to make the playoffs and then go on a magical run but I’m not going to hold my breath. I don’t have much hope that this team will turn things around, even if the team is banking on the fact that since they’ve done it before, they will do it again.

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