Tonight is the back end of a home and home series for the Minnesota Wild and the Colorado Avalanche. The scene shifts to Denver with the Av’s taking the Friday night game in St. Paul by a 3-1 final. The Wild are on a 3 -game losing streak and have been struggling longer than that. They’ve surrendered the first goal in the last 6 games and have been playing soft according to the Wild’s Zach Parise who said, “We played a soft hockey game. We’d cheat, we turned the puck over, and once we were doing it right in the third period we started to get some chances. We turn it over, we turn away from everybody. We make it pretty easy for them. That slows us down.” He’s right. The Wild seem to have lost that sense of urgency and aggressiveness that marked their play earlier this month and most of the season. The last two games Minnesota has been down 2-0 before they decided to get open things up and start taking the game to the opposition.
Tonight Minnesota must win to keep pace in the very competitive Central Division. The fell out of a tie for 3rd with Colorado with Friday’s loss and they can’t afford to fall 4 points back by losing tonight. The Wild need to push the pace and START the game aggressively if they are to have any chance tonight. Look for Niklas Backstrom, 2-3-2, 2.77 goals-against average and a .877 save percentage, in net for Minnesota facing off with Semyon Varlamov and his 12-6-0 record with a 2.14 goals-against average and .932 save percentage. The Wild take a 5-5-2 road mark into the Pepsi Center where Colorado is 9-4-0 this season.
I’ll be back after the game with a recap and some analysis of hopefully a Wild win. A slow start once again for Minnesota and that just won’t happen how ever. Until next time this is Scott Drain chanting hopefully, “Let’s Go Wild!”