Too many passes, not enough shots equal home loss as Wild position becomes precarious
By Wild Road Tripper
The future for the season of the Minnesota Wild rarely looked so bleak. After starting out against the Phoenix Coyotes with more optimism than they had in weeks -- after all, starting goaltender Niklas Backstrom was fully healthy again, for the first time in a fortnight -- and actually scoring the first goal of the game, for the seventh time in their last eight games -- the 'Yotes came roaring back to beat the Wild Wednesday night, 3-2, before 18,178 at Xcel Energy Center, to sweep the season series from the Wild, 4 games to none.
Well, I wouldn't say 'roaring' back. More like, 'boring' back. This game was a real snoozer, folks. The Wild had plenty of opportunity to score, but time after time, they never went for the ugly, garbage goal. They wanted the 'pretty' goals, the mis-directions into the open net, the no-look passes to open men. One problem:
There weren't any men open very often to pass TO.
The Coyotes defense, stellar all night, clamped down hard in the third period, yet the Wild forwards just didn't get it. You had to go inside on this group to get goals. There were goals to be had. The Wild just didn't want to get their noses bloody enough to go get them.
Now, with the Wild clinging to the slightest of playoff hope, they must sweep the final two games of the pre-Olympic homestand, beginning with the Next Game: vs. Atlanta, Friday, Feb. 12, 7:00 PM Central (8:00 PM Eastern) time, Xcel Energy Center. (Wild TV: KSTC-45; Atlanta TV: SportSouth; XM radio, Ch. 209)