The Minnesota Wild need something. Anything. A wake up call, an air horn to shock them back into reality.
The Wild followed a performance of scoring one goal in regulation for six straight games by scoring three against the Colorado Avalanche. And losing. Without being inside the minds of the guys on the roster, the coach on the bench, or the GM in the press box, it is difficult to know what each of them are thinking. Sure, they are all saying the right things, but what is going through their heads right now would be spectacular to know.
There has to be a great deal of second guessing. Second guessing every move they make from "Should I have shot the puck there?" to "Did I put the right lineup card together?" to "Was he the right guy to call up?" The answer to the first question is, yes, you should have shot the puck there, but that's not the point here.
The point is that the Wild are in a massive funk that has seen their goals per game drop below that of last season, which was lower than the prior season, which was lower than the season before that. Scoring fewer goals, according to the John Madden (football not hockey) school of thinking, is not the way to win hockey games.
The top line of Dany Heatley, Mikko Koivu, and Zach Parise was reunited and played extremely well against the Avs. As is the routine, however, they showed up and the rest of the team seemed to disappear. Pulling together a full team effort for the full 60 minutes has yet to happen this season. This is a trend that... well... it seems pretty obvious at this point that the team either needs to win or someone is moving out of St. Paul.
Chuck Fletcher seems to have grown tired of the effort from the secondary scoring in the bottom nine. He has send Charlie Coyle back to Houston, placed Josh Harding on the IR, and called up Jason Zucker and Johan Larsson. The Wild now have five players on the team under 22 years old, and have called up nearly every one of their top prospects to provide a spark to the team.
If this doesn't work, the options turn far more nuclear.
The Red Wings, on the other hand, come in riding what must be a frustrating reality. They are 7-5-2, have 16 points, and sit in second to last in the Central. If they played in the Northwest, they would be two points away from the third seed in the playoffs.
They are still a dangerous team, as is evident from the first game between these two teams. The Wild cannot play like they have for the last two weeks and expect a win against the Wings. Play like they have the last two weeks, and the Wild are quickly going to be looking up at an embarrassing loss.
Game time is 5PM. Don't miss it.