It was another frustrating night for the Wild in a season that had such high expectations leading in. The Wild were in Winnipeg to play the Jets and they needed a win. Unfortunately, just like in 3 of their first 4, the Wild couldn’t figure it out.
The defense was atrocious early, giving up two goals on WIDE open shots. It wasn’t the defense Bruce Boudreau was hoping for.
“[The Jets] got four, and that’s not as good as you want,” Boudreau said of a Wild defense that has given up fewer than four goals only once in five games. “Look at the end of the year, at [teams whose] goals-against average is three and over, and see where those guys end up. They’re never in the playoffs.
“It seems like we’re afraid to win. All five games, we’ve been tied or ahead with less than 10 minutes to go. When you’re that close in every game, and you come away with nothing, we’ve got to do some soul-searching.”
So, Bruce isn’t happy either. I really like Bruce Boudreau. He doesn’t hide his emotions and I can relate to that. His team needs to be better, though, and part of that is on him.
After the 2-0 early deficit, the Wild found their game. A goal from Stewart, with under 1 minute to play in the 1st period, put the Wild in the locker room feeling a bit of confidence. It was a great play by Stewart, laying the hit and spinning to be in position for the goal seconds later. He has been the Wild’s best scorer early in the season, which is probably a problem. Stewart has 5 goals. Koivu sits behind him with 3. Jason Zucker leads the team early in assists with 4 which is a small change. He was more of the scorer on the Koivu-Granlund-Zucker line before all the injuries.
Mikko Koivu and Marcus Foligno got the first two goals of the 2nd period and the Wild were back on top and seemed to be playing pretty well.
Unfortunately, the Wild couldn’t hold the lead. They gave up a goal with about 30 seconds left in the 2nd period. Then, the Wild went scoreless in the 3rd and a Blake Wheeler game-winner with about 7 minutes left, put the game away.
The Wild will play again tonight vs. Calgary and you don’t want to say a team is desperate or a game is “must-win” only 5 games into an 82 game season but the Wild need to figure something out. The league doesn’t care about their injuries
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Photo: JOHN WOODS – ASSOCIATED PRESS (Star Tribune)