The Wild continued their road woes tonight, as they tried their best to skate with the Bruins at TD Garden–but a combination of general sloppy play and disorganized attacks handed them a loss on the last game of a long road trip. I listened to the first half of the game on the radio driving home from work, but this just looks like a team depleted. Pominville and Zucker were banged up in this game as well, which just feels like adding injury to insult.
Parise, Scandella, Fontaine, Graovac–Mike Yeo has not been playing with all the chess pieces lately. The Power Play has been suffering, and the Penalty Kill has been a shell of its 2014 self (*caughBRODZIAK*), so when the Wild let in an early goal, they set a familiar tone to the game, punching off their back foot. They got an extremely slow start out of the gates (AGAIN) and found themselves at an early deficit (AGAIN). Boston took over the game in the third period, and that was all she wrote. A bench penalty at the very tail end of the game is a great way to seal a loss, and then Zucker gets his leg blown up as time expires. It’s a miracle the Wild are headed home for the rest of the month, because one more injury and they could very well spiral down the standings (AGAIN!)
Minnesota did a decent enough job getting near the goal, and if not for Suter’s shot that I believe they’re saying was tipped by Schroeder, they would have only mustered one goal. By comparison, the Bruins got to the slot just at will–they scored three even strength goals from the ‘high danger zone’ which to me says that Minnesota’s defenders need to clear the dang crease once in a while! Scandella’s absence is acutely felt here–Dumba is just too small to remove defenders. Here’s a close-up of the Bruins shot attempts in the home plate area.
Yeah…not good. You don’t need me to tell you it’s not good. Dubnyk was supposed to benefit from coming to a defensively sound team, and for a while that worked, but if this team doesn’t start controlling the center of the ice, they’re not going to fare well.
I decided to show a chart of Wild linemates instead of opposition–I just think it’s a little more informative when it’s less chaotic. Koivu-Zucker-Niederreiter are doing what they can, and Coyle-Vanek-Schoreder did alright, but when Granlund and Vanek skate together, they just don’t seem to have what it takes to control possession. I think before too long we’re going to need to take a hard long look at Granlund and assess whether he’s contributing top-six levels.
Mercifully, the Wild wrap up their four-game east coast trip, and are at home through the rest of November. However, the Predators, Canucks, Jets, and Stars are all coming to town, so they’d either get some guys healthy, or someone else needs to step it up to carry them through until Parise and Scandella are back.