The Minnesota Wild were shut out by the St. Louis Blues Thursday night at the Xcel Energy Center. The final score was Blues 2, Wild 0, zip, zilch, nada. For the second game in a row and the third out of four the Minnesota Wild failed to score. Over the last two games the Minnesota defense has given up a total of 3 goals. A goal and a half average sounds pretty damn good to me. For all the people ready to hang Wild defensemen from their skate hooks in the locker room, IT’S DARN HARD TO WIN A GAME ZERO TO ZERO. The Wild are missing the scoring aspect of the game, not the defensive one. They ran into the HOTTEST GOALIE IN THE LEAGUE tonight in Brian Elliott. He has now shut out his last three opponents, while the Blues have run their winning streak to six straight. Yes, they scored two goals on dubious defensive plays but the Wild scored o on all of their chances and 23 shots on goal. The closest they came was Jason Pominville‘s shot off the post just 1:10 into the first period. No Parise goals, No Koivu goals, No Bouchard assists and No Suter assists. In fact there was precious little of Ryan Suter tonight after he suffered an injury early in the second period. He left the Wild bench for several minutes then returned for a few shifts but never saw the ice again after the 17 minutes mark of the second. We’ll see what happens as the Wild practice tomorrow. Losing Suter for any amount of games would be a huge blow to the Minnesota team.
After tonight’s game Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo faced the media and opened with a little statement about his squad and their recent performance, “Before the onslaught begins, I’ll start by saying my message to the team and the way that we feel is we have nothing to apologize for and nothing to feel sorry about. We played obviously a strong team and we played a good game. I’m not saying we can’t be better in a couple of areas, but bout obviously the complexion of the game changes if we score first. We’ve got to quit giving up the first goal, but right through the lineup we competed hard. We did a lot of good things. Obviously we made a couple mistakes, but we’ve got nothing to hang our head about. That’s for sure!” I think Yeo was sending this message to the assembled media members and the Wild’s fans some of whom chose to “Booo” their effort Thursday night. In addition I would guess Yeo delivered a similar message to his team after the end of the game. These last two games have shown the Wild and their fans just where they stand right now against some of the elite teams in the Western Conference. Later in his post game comments the Coach Yeo said, “I know there’s been so much losing around here for so long that it’s almost like we’re waiting for it to happen again. One thing that we’re learning is that the final push is the hardest. Let’s not be afraid to write that that’s a pretty good team we played tonight. They’re a pretty strong team, we played a good game. We didn’t win it and certainly we’re not happy about that. I know what’s going on and we want to write a negative story and we want to feel sorry for ourselves and I’m telling you, It is NOT happening in the dressing room.” It’s sounds like Head Coach Yeo is also trying to keep his team thinking with a positive state of mind and not sink into a self-pitying moras. The Minnesota squad gets to get right back at it on Saturday when the Columbus Blue Jackets come to town. This is the same Jackets team the Wild shut out just three games ago in Columbus. The Wild are still in 7th spot in the Western Conference where they started the day. The Detroit Red Wings lost in a shoot out to San Jose, the point earned moved Detroit to within 2 points of the Wild. GonePuckWild.com will be back with a full game preview Saturday at the Blue Jackets come calling with newly acquired Marian Gaborik in t0w.
Tonight’s loss was a frustrating and maddening one to say the least. This loss belongs to the Minnesota Wild as a team, not just the defense or the suddenly lackluster offense. The Wild need to figure out what is wrong and or going wrong and fix it soon. There are just 8 games left on the roster, 4 home and 4 away. Minnesota need to win 5-6 of those if they hope to make the playoffs. i just hope we are not seeing another second half swoon by our Wild team. A win against Columbus will go a long way towards that goal. I’ll be back with the game preview and until then, this is Scott Drain positively shouting, “Let’s GO Wild!”