The Minnesota Wild have struggled offensively in the new NHL season. An analysis follows:
First: The Good (and the only good)
Goalie Devan Dubnyk (cover photo) has played lights out the first two games. He has stopped 77 of 80 shots so far. Saturday against the Vegas Golden Knights, Dubnyk made at least six high-quality saves to keep the Wild in a game in which they were occasionally competitive. Had it not been for a late Max Pacioretty goal with 1:31 left in the third period, the talk would have been how Dubnyk would have stolen two points. Alas, Vegas eventually won in a shootout goal by former Wild forward Erik Haula.
The Wild’s new-look third line of Charlie Coyle, rookie Jordan Greenway, and Joel Eriksson Ek has produced TWO (2) shots in two games so far. If that continues, look for that line to break up sooner, than later.
By the end of the second period of Saturday’s game, the Wild had been out shot a whooping 64-33 in five periods of hockey. They have started both games with decent energy, but it quickly flattens; the second periods are anemic. Against fast teams like the Golden Knights, and in Thursday’s 4-1 loss against the Colorado Avalanche, they struggle mightily in puck possession.
The Wild have the slows, borrowing from Abraham Lincoln’s assessment of his reluctant-to-fight General George B. McClellan. Only Dubnyk has saved them, and his .963 save percentage is the only reason the Wild have one point and not zero points. That save percentage is not sustainable through an 82-game season.
The Wild have four days off. They are at home on Thursday against the Chicago Blackhawks who have started out, oh by the way, 2-0-0 to begin the season.
Cover Photo Credit: Associated Press
Paul Dier covers the Minnesota Wild and NHL for Full Press Coverage.
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