Kevin Fiala believes there’s no panic within the Minnesota Wild locker room.
But fans might be more than a little worried with the team’s recent play.
Minnesota ‘s skid hit four games with a 5-1 loss to Calgary, and that makes five losses in the past six games. The Wild did set a franchise mark with 48 hits against the Flames but little else went right for the team, seemingly like has been the case over the past few weeks.
True, every team has peaks and valleys along the way. But the fear is that the Wild are in the midst of a free fall, or a swoon that seems to have hit this team too many times over the past decade.
The Flames beat the Wild twice in the span of four days by a combined score of 12-4. The Flames looked like a serious playoff contender in those matchups while the Wild resembled a broke team, or one at least with some concerns.
Goaltending ranks near the top. Minnesota has allowed a league-worst 38 goals since Feb. 14, or 4.75 per game. Cam Talbot ranks 62nd among 66 goalies in that span with a .863 saves percentage over four starts and is 58th with a 4.42 goals against average.
Kaapo Kahkonen is not much better. He ranks 29th with a .887 saves percentage in four starts and 43rd with a 3.59 goals against average.
I know. The goalies get a lot of criticism when things are going bad, just like a quarterback does as well. But the Wild’s struggles extend beyond their last line of defense.
Special teams? The Wild’s have been anything but that.
Minnesota has killed 66.7% of opponent’s power-play opportunities since Valentine’s Day. Only New Jersey and Detroit have been worse.
How bout the power play? Minnesota went 0-for-4 against Calgary on Tuesday and is clicking around 22% since the middle of February.
As for faceoffs? Minnesota has won 43.5% of those over the last few weeks as well. The only team that’s worse? Colorado at 42.4%.
The Wild are looking up at the Avalanche, who not only are the Central Division leaders but also have the most points in the NHL.
Minnesota is in third place in the Central , 19 points behind the Avs. Second-place St. Louis is five points ahead of the Wild, and have won four straight games. Fourth-place Nashville is just a point behind the Wild, and Edmonton – which holds the second wild card spot – is just two back.
Dallas and Anaheim are also lurking, both with 61 points.
Fivethirtyeight.com still gives the Wild a 95% chance to make the postseason, but just a 7% chance to make the Stanley Cup Final and a 3% chance to win it all.
There’s still plenty of time for the Wild with 31 games left on the schedule. Nineteen of those will be at the Xcel Energy Center.
That leaves just 12 road games on Minnesota schedule and two of those will be played over the next few days beginning with a Thursday matchup in Philadephia.
Will the Wild look like a different team against the Flyers.? There’s reason to believe so. The Wild have dealt with adversity throughout the season, be it player injuries, postponed games or even Mother Nature.
Why would now be different.
“”We still believe in each other,” Fiala said ahead of Tuesday’s game with the Flames. “There’s no panic at all, just so you guys know. We will be back for sure.”
Time will tell for the Wild.