Friday, February 12, 2016

The Minnesota Wild Are Still Searching For A Victory

The Minnesota Wild are still searching for their first victory since the All-Star break after losing to the Washington Capitals 4-3 on Thursday night. The Wild entered the break in losing mode and hoped that the break would allow them to restart the season and leave the losing behind them.

That hasn’t happened. The MinnesotaWild have lost their last seven games and are 1-13 in their last fourteen. Something has to change for this team to regain the winning form that they had to start the season.

Second Period Downfall

In recent games the team’s Achilles heel has been the second period. The team comes out strong in the first period and peppers opposing goalies, only to leave the period up a goal, tied or down a goal. The team is very much in the game in the first period.

Something happens to this Wild team between the first and second periods. Maybe it’s a confidence issue. The team peppers opposing goalies but has trouble scoring goals.

Last night against the Capitals we saw this phenomenon occur again. Washington and the Wild were tied entering the second period but Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals destroyed the Wild in the second stanza. The Capitals finished the second period with a 3-1 lead and the confidence that they would win.

The Wild would make itclose in the second by narrowing Washington’s lead to one goal 7:35 into the third period but it was too little too late. It seems that Wild can turn on the goal light when it matters least and when the outcome is a near certainty.

Effort Vs. Execution

During the Wild’s losing streak in many games it would be difficult to fault the team’s effort. In the last two games, the effort has been turned up a notch but that effort has not resulted in victories. It’s incredibly frustrating as a fan to see the Wild having glorious chances and not scoring.

How many times last night did the Wild have what looked like can’t miss opportunities and they either shot the puck wide or over the net.

The issue I have with the Minnesota Wild is their lack of execution. It’s execution that leads to goals and that’s what matters most. A team can have great effort but if they’re not executing that means very little.

Having chances is not executing. In offense execution means scoring goals, not out shooting your opponent and coming away with a big fat zero on the scoreboard.

In the defensive game, effort isn’t execution. Execution is not having lapses and allowing your opponent to outscore you. When the Wild are on their game and executing it’s extremely hard to score goals against them. When they’re off their game, the Wild have to score multiple goals, something that is rare for them (but they have scored three goals in the past two games).

It’s A Wrap

The Wild are still searching for a victory and I’m not confident it’s going to come soon. If it does it might be an ugly victory but on the scoreboard you can’t tell an ugly to a pretty one.

The inability to score goals has reared its ugly head in the past three years. It doesn’t seem like anything has improved no matter what this organization does. As a fan, I’m growing increasingly restless with this squad and even if they do turn it around, they will have taken a lot out of my sails due to the year after year roller coaster ride that they’ve taken me on.

The roller coaster ride that Wild fans have gone through the past three seasons has to stop. It might end with the Wild’s roller coaster coming to a crashing end when they’ve played their last regular season game and missed the playoffs! 

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