clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Power Play Struggles Plague Otherwise Dominant Wild

New, comments

Four games into the season, Minnesota joins Buffalo, Winnipeg and the New York Rangers as teams yet to score on the power play this season. Of those teams, only the Jets have had fewer opportunities (14) on the man advantage than the Wild, who lead the league with an average of over two shots on goal per power play. How is it they can't seem to find the back of the net?

Zach Parise throws the kitchen sink at the Kings' Jonathan Quick in the hopes of scoring a goal.
Zach Parise throws the kitchen sink at the Kings' Jonathan Quick in the hopes of scoring a goal.
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

It's hard to say bad things about a pair of power play units that do everything except score when on the ice.

Thomas Vanek has done his job well deflecting pucks in front of the net, Zach Parise has crashed it at every opportunity and centers Mikael Granlund and Mikko Koivu have done an excellent job of distributing the puck from along the half-wall. So why aren't biscuits going in the basket?

If we're going off of yesterday alone, it's easy to say it was all due to the exceptional play of Jonathan Quick. In fact, you'd be right. Out-shot 41-16, the defending Stanley Cup champs managed to grind one out on the back of their goaltender yesterday in a win they just didn't deserve. However, a team that goes 0-for-5 on the power play - with 14 shots on goal in that span - doesn't exactly deserve to win either. There were shots off the pipe/crossbar, whiffs and other missed chances - something that has become a disturbing trend for Minnesota's anemic offense.

Sure, it was just one game. The problem is, we're four games into the season and the Wild have yet to get one past any goaltender on the man advantage thus far. It's confounding when you realize Minnesota has out-shot opponents by a total of 151-88 (a game average 37.8-22), yet is only at .500 on the season. Even more frustrating is the fact that a few of the club's goals against have come off of unfortunate/flukey plays that happen to even the best players. Puck luck hasn't been in the club's favor so far this season, which is why the team has to make every man advantage count.

Overall, Minnesota is actually playing very, very well. Apart from the odd breakdown, the defense has been spectacular, Darcy Kuemper has been a rock, Niklas Backstrom actually looked somewhat solid yesterday and the Wild forwards are always threatening. It's only a matter of time before things click: with Vanek, Koivu and the power play. Everyone is just hoping that happens sooner rather than later.