Eric Nystrom's goal at 1:24 of the first period was all that the Predators would need to beat the Wild. Roman Josi scored on a third period power play to put the game out of reach. Minnesota couldn't buy a goal. Out-shooting the Preds 29-25 in the game, the Wild had all of the shots stopped by back-up goalie Carter Hutton.
It wasn't pretty. The struggle is real. Over 120 minutes of not scoring is boring. The Wild are boring. Rather than doing things to try to break the slump, it's resorting to doing the same things it has always done. It's over passing, not getting traffic in front of the net, not shooting enough, not hitting the net, not skating on the power play, not crashing the net, not executing passes, staying out on the perimeter, and lastly, it's super damn predictable. The Wild are extremely easy to defend. We've heard Zach Parise echo this same sentiment, but rather than putting forth the effort to play the right way, the team is more interested in playing the same way expecting a different result.
Mike Yeo no doubt will be blamed. It's incredibly ridiculous that his team will play like a junior varsity team for extended portions of the season in every season he's coached. But he's trying. Not sure how many more permutations of lines he has left to go through. He can yell, smash his stick, and scratch players all he want, but it's up to the players to crash the net and just make better decisions on the ice.
I like that the Wild defensemen are so involved in the Wild offence. There is nothing more I like than a hard slap shot beating a netminder from 40 feet. I used to watch Mike Crowley and Jordan Leopold do that for the Gophers (who swept the Michigan State Spartans this weekend, BTW). However, the Wild run the offense through its defensemen, and that's not how forwards should play in the offensive zone. The puck goes down low, gets dug out by a forward, who then button hooks and passes up to the point. From there, the puck will do one of three things: either it goes back down low, gets rotated to the other defenseman, or sent on net. It is never a forward from in tight around the net centering the puck with other forwards crashing unless it's Thomas Vanek (who hasn't been great as of late either). No, the Wild look to the point almost instinctively - habitually - to get the puck on net. What do good defensive teams like the Predators do? Why they take that pass to the point away and choke off the Wild's offense.
You'd like to think that the Wild are just snake bitten like crazy right now. Which it definitely is, but the way it's playing is not doing it any favors to breaking the skid.
Anyways, the Wild lost its fourth game in a row. It now has a stretch of days off until next Thursday when it faces the Anaheim Ducks on national TV. I wouldn't be surprised if Yeo had another public ripping of his team before then, just so Jeremy Roenick can call for his head again. Cause, you know, the Montreal Canadiens have struggled mightily since the franchise record start to the season, but you don't see him calling for Michel Therrien's job. The Wild need to find a panacea, an antidote, for this snake bite and it needs it quickly. The season isn't going to get easier and I don't think a trade will do much to fix the mental blocks this teams has.