UPDATED: Palmieri thoughts at end
Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch.
One ouch per Kings goal. Now let’s do one “Woohoo!” per Wild goal.
Get the picture?
Painful night in the State of Hockey, folks. The Wild dropped to the Kings, 4-0, and it was indeed as painful as the score looks.
Not a lot to say on this one. Gilbert hasn’t been in a Wild sweater for even 48 hours yet, and unlike some folks I’ll withhold judgment until he actually gets some real practice time with the team. Yes, he’s a pro. He’s also just moved cities, changed teams and arenas, and needs to play a new system. Give him a week. Yeesh.
Overall, though, the Wild blue liners were bad, bad, bad. Falk had a rotten night along with Scandella. Both got beat regularly and failed to clear the slot or crease throughout the entire game. The end result was a very frustrated Niklas Backstrom facing white sweaters from all sides with no support. I’ll put blame for the last goal on Backs, but even that comes with the caveat that he was screened by Wild D. Ugh.
The offense didn’t do any better. No forecheck until the second period, and even then it failed to generate much in terms of quality chances. Cal Clutterbuck summed up the team’s feelings by slamming his stick against the boards later in the game, shortly before he punched Brown out of sheer frustration and took a penalty for it.
It was a very unsettled game tonight. Lots of changes in the locker room, lots of changes on the ice.
Backs needs a rest. Sit him out in Montreal. Make sure he’s ready to face Colorado, a team he can make cry at will. He’s facing too many shots and too much pushing and shoving due to a lack of defensive aggression by Wild D.
Scratch Falk, maybe Scandella. See what Kampfer has to offer, and up front get Kassian on the ice against any team with a hint of physical mischief. Watching Scandella attempt to fight tonight made me wish for Staubitz, and that’s just not good.
UPDATED: I’m going to dig into the recent changes tomorrow and was going to bring this up then, but it’s important enough to mention now. As a reader commented on Facebook (and I wholeheartedly agree), there was one bright spot in a Wild sweater tonight. Nick Palmieri was absolutely impressive. He played a hard, physical hockey game and managed to find his way to the Los Angeles net almost every time he was in their zone. Unfortunately, nobody else noticed and the puck rarely ended up there at the same time…but if the team gets its act together and he keeps playing like that, he will get points in short order.