The Minnesota Wild lost in a Shootout to The Florida Panthers after playing to a 1-1 tie through OT. Florida net minder Tim Thomas was perfect against Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu while Jonathan Huberdeau and Brad Boyes both scored on Josh Harding to pick up the extra point. It’s not all bad thought The Wild did pick up a point giving them a total of 9 on the season. That’s good for 5th in the Central Division and 11th in the Western Conference. The Wild have now scored 5 goals over the four game road trip going 1-2-1 in that stretch. The Panthers pick up their third win of the season while Minnesota falls to 3-3-3. I’m not sure what it’s going to take for the Wild to start scoring some goals. Tonight Wild Head Coach switched up the top three lines and still only got one goal. Thomas stopped 30 of 31 Minnesota shots through regulation and overtime. The Panthers put 22 shots on Harding who stopped 21 of them including a break away chance by Kris Versteeg in the first period. Harding’s record now falls to 3-2-1 even though he has a goals against of 1.11 and a save percentage of .948. In his post game comments Minnesota Head Coach Mike Yeo said, “Hards has been great he’s been nothing but great.” His teammates are the ones who keep letting him down. Harding has been excellent in goal he’s just getting a goal a game in support as of late. You can’t expect top pick up many points when you only score 1 goal a game. The Wild are averaging 2.11 goals a game over 9 games this season. On this road swing they’ve averaged just 1.25 per game. In his post game comments Wild Coach Yeo said.“I’m disappointed for our guys, to be honest with you.” “They’re playing our tails off and not getting rewarded.” He’s not sure what the solution is but Yeo is looking forward to a solid practice on Monday. The team has tomorrow off after arriving back in the Twin Cities late Saturday night/Sunday morning.
The Wild’s lone goal came from Jonas Brodin who had another strong game defensively. He scored a power play goal in the second period with the assists on the play going to Dany Heatley and Mikael Granlund. His 3 goals and 3 assists lead all NHL blue liners in goals and is 7th in points. Tonight he played 27:54 in ice time trailing only his defensive partner Ryan Suter, who skated and amazing 32:12 to lead all skaters on both teams. Coach Yeo praised the Wild’s defense who’ve allowed only 5 five on five goals in 9 games this season the lowest total in the NHL. Over the last 4 games they have been very solid but with little to no goal support they are frustrated as well. Minnesota played well defensively and generated many scoring chances tonight. One again though just a single goal was to be had.
The first period of the game was a penalty fest with the two teams combining for 4 power play chances. The rash of penalties led to the Wild being unable to establish any real flow or meaningful puck control. The second saw another pair of power play opportunities for Florida and one for the Wild. In the Third period the Wild had a glorious opportunity when the Panthers handed the Wild a 1:19 5 on 3 power play. It was a mess for the Wild, missed passes, bad decisions, missed shots and more. It was a clinic on how NOT to run a lengthy 5 on 3. The Wild penalty kill went 1 for 5 as did the Panthers, and that accounted for the lone Florida goal in the game. Aleksander Barkov tipped in a Thomas Fleischman shot to tie the game just under 7 minutes into the third period. There the score would remain through the rest of the third period and overtime. Then came the previously mentioned, ill-fated shoot out.
The Wild now head back to St. Paul and the Xcel Energy Center where they will play a nice string of games on home ice. Maybe some home cookin’ and some practice time will help break this goal drought. There’s a lot of things going right with this season’s Minnesota Wild team. The PK, shot totals, overall defense and goal tending have been excellent. If they can just figure out how to score a few more goals, then look out Central Division. I’ll be back with a preview of Tuesdays Wild vs Predators match up. Until then this is Scott Drain still saying, “Let’s Go Wild!!”