Friday, February 19, 2016

The Minnesota Wild Love Western Canada, Eh?

The Minnesota Wild finished their Western Canadian road trip by beating the Edmonton Oilers 5-2 on Thursday night. It was their third straight game scoring five goals as they beat their hapless opponents by a combined score of 15-7. They beat the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames in their two previous games.

I could go on and on about how it angers me that the Wild can turn it on and off like they did but it’s time for me to look forward to the possibility of this team making the playoffs. I’m happy that the Wild have won three straight and are now back in the playoff race.

The Wild didn’t dominate the Oilers but they definitely took advantage of their chances, something that I’ve criticized them in the past for being unable to do.

Tough Schedule Going Forward

Things only get harder for the Wild as they face the defending Stanley Cup Champions (Chicago Blackhawks) in an outdoor Stadium Series game on Sunday. Then the Minnesota Wild will face some good teams and teams fighting for their playoff lives.

If the Wild continue to play with the emotion and heart that they’ve shown in the past three games, they will have a good chance of making the playoffs. They will also have to continue scoring multiple goals per game.

The teams they will face going forward are better and more talented than the Vancouver Canucks, Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers. It’s important for this team to continue to improve.

Defense Has Had Some Lapses Of Good Play

During the Wild’s losing streak they had games where the defense failed to show up. Last night against the Oilers, the Minnesota Wild had lapses in defense as well. This concerns me. The Wild’s turnovers in their end of the ice led to one goal but it could have been worse.

Nate Prosser had a terrible night. He was directly responsible for two Edmonton goals. Even Ryan Suter looked a little shaky at times.

The Wild were able to overcome some of their deficiencies and less than stellar moments by scoring goals. I would like to see the Wild scoring goals and playing sound defense for a full sixty minutes.

It’s a Wrap

I know I’ve been hard on this club in recent weeks and while it might take me awhile to start respecting the team’s stars again, the team has given their fans a reason to cheer and be hopeful that the Wild have turned things around.

The true test for the Wild will be how they handle the tough games coming up in their schedule. The initial boost of a new coach will soon wear off and we’ll see if this is the real Minnesota Wild or if the team that we saw in the losing streak is the real one.

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