Nothing comes easy for the Minnesota Wild.
At least this year so far.
The Wild have had stretches where they couldn’t keep the puck out of their net, and also as current one where they have struggled to get it past the opposing goalie.
The team has also had to juggle its lineup due to injuries. That continues now as goalie Marc-Andre Fleury was placed on the injured reserve list on Wednesday and is expected to be sidelined for at least a week.
It comes as the Wild are in the midst of a seven-game homestand that began with a dud against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday, and continues with a matchup against the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday. It would seem to be a chance for the Wild to pile up some points in an arena that they were nearly unbeatable in last season.
But maybe not.
Minnesota set a record with 31 wins at the Xcel Enegy Center last season, but after the setback to the Penguins, are just 2-5-1 mark on home ice so far.
It’s just one thing that has seemed just a bit off about the Wild’s game this year.
The team’s offense has been another.
Minnesota had a dynamic attack last season, setting a team mark with 305 goals during the regular season. But the Wild entered Saturday ranked 26th in the NHL in goals per game with an average of 2.71.
The Wild, who were held to a goal by Nashville on Tuesday, have averaged 2.11 goals per game, which ranks 30th in the league.
Kirill Kaprizov and Mats Zuccarello lead the Wild with 19 and 17 points, respectively, and Joel Eriksson Ek (12) and Matt Boldy (11) and Joel Eriksson Ek (10) are the only other players who have reached double figures in points.
Rookie forward Marco Rossi has just an assist so far, just one of the players the Wild have counted on this year and have struggled to find their offensive game.
Minnesota’s power play ranks 19th in the NHL at 20.7% and have not converted in their past 13 opportunities.
But Wild coach Dean Evason saw some reason for optimism in Tuesday’s game.
“We played a real strong hockey game,” Evason said in the postgame media availability session. “Their power play scored, ours did not. We outshoot them, we’re getting lots of pucks to the net. We got lots of opportunities. We’re not scoring obviously, but we’re doing the right things to score.”
The scoring and the subsequent success could return for the Wild.
It just might not happen as easy as once thought.
That is the story of the Wild so far this year.