Wild drop 4th straight: Is the fire sale looming?
The Minnesota Wild always have had decent success when playing against the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center. But then, there are times when the local sextet just rolls over, and plays dead. Last night, in front of their fathers, with an NHL-imposed limit to player-parent road trips looming, the Wild decided that last night's game would be something special.
Unfortunately, the Blackhawks had other plans for the Minnesota contingent. And, by coming at the Wild virtually in waves, the odds-on favorite Western Conference representatives to playing for Lord Stanley in June showed the tattered Wild how a real powerhouse works, spotting the Wild the first goal, then charging back to beat the Wild 4-1, in front of an announced 21,381.
Marian Hossa, the Hawks' long-term lease player, scored twice, along with John Madden and Patrick '20-Cent' Kane, as ten different Hawks tallied points against a Wild defense which had a difficult time adjusting to the younger, speedier Hawks and their wave after wave of offense. It looked, at times, like the Wild defense was asleep at the switch.
And, speaking of catching some Z's, Marek Zidlicky and Greg Zanon each wound up -2 on the evening, along with Petr Sykora, the only Wild forward so victimized. The Wild have dropped four in a row, two straight to the Hawks, and failed to win at least once in the cavernous UC for the first time since the 2001-02 season. The Wild wake up Wednesday morning to find themselves still in 11th place, now 10 points out of the 8th and final playoff spot, since no one else below them in the standings can win, either. In fact, the only Western Conference team currently in the top 8 that played and lost last night, was the eighth-place Nashville Predators.
Nashville was defeated by the opponent for the Wild's Next Game: vs. Calgary, Tonight (Wednesday, Jan. 6), 7:00 PM Central (6:00 PM Mountain) Time, Xcel Energy Center. (Wild TV: KSTC-45; No Flames' TV; XM Radio, Ch. 207)