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For the second game in a row, I find myself disagreeing with the consensus on how the team played. Against Vancouver, I felt they played fairly well and got beat by a better team. The team and coach disagreed with that assessment. Tonight, despite the 35 shots on goal, I did not feel the team played particularly well. The team and coach disagreed.
The talk in the locker room was of the team putting in the effort needed, but not getting the bounces. The presser with Mike Yeo was similar. Talk of not always getting what they deserve and it being a long season were mixed with an understanding that moral victories don't count. Yeo did mention how he knows at this point in the season, it is no longer about building on a game, it's about winning games.
I expected there to be a great deal more anger tonight. I was surprised to see a lack of emotion. Maybe I'm in the wrong here.
To the game.
The Wild did play well through the first period. They were getting chances, pushing the pace, keeping Steve Mason very busy. They showed the "Shooter's mentality" that Mike Yeo wants, and peppered the net when they had a chance. The controlled the zone well, protected Backstrom, and battled in the corners. All the little things.
Right up until the last minute of play. Then they quit and R.J. Umberger put in his first of two on the night. At the 19:04 mark of the first. In a period the Wild dominated, they were only tied at the end of it.
The second period was sloppy for both sides. Neither team got any chances that were overly exciting. It was a period reminiscent of last season, save for giving up four goals. Then, again, at the 19:39 mark of the period, the Wild quit and gave up the game winner.
In the third, the Wild once again played some decent hockey. Decent hockey against the worst team in the league. The problem is, they couldn't find the jugular, and they lost. To the worst team in hockey. For the second time in less than a week.
Maybe it's not fair to criticize at this point. Maybe they really did play a solid game and just didn't get the breaks. Certainly, the refs missed calls that may have given the Wild an advantage. Let's be honest though, was the Wild power play going to help them?
The game came down to finishing, and the Wild didn't do that. By a rough count, Dany Heatley probably should have had at least four goals tonight. Missed tap-ins, passes in the skates, broken sticks... the killer instinct missing. Steve Mason leaves this one smelling like roses. Generally, it would be customary to give credit to a goalie who made 34 saves, but it doesn't seem like many of those were overly difficult.
Once again, I am left on the opposite side of the general feeling of this game. I just can't wrap my head around getting beat by a less than average goalie and the worst team in the league and saying the effort was there. After getting ripped by your coach, you come out and lose? Again? Not getting why the anger isn't present.
If I'm wrong here, tell me.
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- Does Mike Yeo get his response? He says he did. I disagree.
- Is there a way to stop the Wild Killer? Two assists on the night, so no.
- The top line looked good against Vancouver. Any chance they pour it on against Columbus? They looked good at times. Not so much at others.
- Who steps up for the Wild? Anyone at all? I'm sure there will be those who disagree, but I don't think so.
- At what point does Mike Yeo just sign a contract? Sign him. It can't be any worse.