If you think being a Rangers, Islanders, Devils, Flyers, Canucks fan is tough think about what the state of hockey and their fans feel like every time the Wild come out flying and fall short of their goal.
It has been a rough two weeks for Minnesota especially coming off a 7-2 loss to Edmonton Friday night and falling to now 5th in Central division. The Wild started out the season on a high note, winning games and taking pride in their defensively structure. Now, the last ten have not been in the Wild’s favor, the once top-two Central team is now fifth in the Central, 9th in the conference and 16th in the league.
Minnesota’s depth scoring
They are 3-7-0 in their last ten games and just +1 in terms of goal differential. They are clearly struggling on both sides of the puck, but was the Wild’s start a fluke? We all know the Central will be dominated by Winnipeg and Nashville but someone needs that three spot and a lot fans figured the Wild could be the next team up. The Wild’s offense has been off to a mediocre start, they are seeing production from a select few guys but not on a consistent basis. The Wild’s leading scorer is Mikael Granlund (11G, 17A) next up is Zach Praise (13G, 11A), these are players they expect to produce daily. What has hurt the Wild recently is players who they expect to produce not living up to expectations. For example the 30-goal scorer Jason Zucker is off to a slow start with 9 goals and 9 assists, Charlie Coyle has 4 goals and 9 assists, Nino Niederreiter has 4 goals and 10 assists, Jared Spurgeon even to has not been all that impactful with just 3 goals and 12 assists.
You are probably thinking for a defenseman 15 points is good, or 9 goals is solid for a forward, but most of these points came when the Wild were winning and things were going right for the team. When things have gone south so have these players production. Over the last ten games, Coyle has two points (1G, 1A), Zucker has four points (3G, 1A), Niederreiter has four points (2G, 2A), Spurgeon has five points (5A) these are players that while they may not be top three forwards around the NHL they still need to find a way to provide some much needed depth scoring for the Wild. Despite the Wild’s lack of goal scoring as they have scored 24 goals in their last ten games compared to the 27 goals for they scored in their previous eight games before they went on this skid. The Wild have allowed 35 goals against.
Can the Wild turn it around with their upcoming home stretch?
So the question is have the wheels fell off the wagon in Minnesota? Will be a contender in the Central or is there only hope a wild card spot? They have 5 home games coming up in the next two weeks (MTL, CGY, SJS, FLA, DAL) with three road games (PIT, WPG, CHI) and end the month of December with a home game vs Pittsburgh. It may still be early in the season but every point counts and the Wild need to make the most of these four straight home games coming up.