Nothing is going completely right for the Minnesota Wild right now. Either some old witch laid a curse on this team to never look like a very good team ever again, or regression is happening; which might as well be an old witch curse,
The Wild have lost seven of their last nine games — almost completely eliminating early-season winning streaks where they looked unbeatable. The balancing of scales leaves this team just a handful of dropped points away from being out of a playoff spot and right before GM Bill Guerin has to make some tough decisions surrounding the March 21 trade deadline. Buy or sell? Well, it’s tough right now, but that’s a bigger question for a different blog.
For the Wild, this is certainly a tougher game comparatively to the previous matchups against the Buffalo Sabres and the Philadelphia Flyers; especially when you realize just how hot the Dallas Stars are right now. They have taken nine of the last 10 available points for them, and they just finished a crazy game against the Winnipeg Jets that saw Jason Robertson put the team on his back, scoring a hat trick which included the overtime game-winner. This team right now is sort of like the Wild that we used to know.
Not only is it an important game because it’s against Dallas (fuck Norm Green) but this is truly one that, depending on the result, could flip a switch for the rest of the Wild’s season. The Wild have a game in-hand, but the Stars sit just two points back, and even the Nashville Predators are just a single point behind the Wild. Due to Minnesota’s recent misfortunes, the teams that were once seen as lesser, are catching up in the standings and could even knock our favorite hockey club out of a playoff spot soon.
There are still 29 games left to play for Minnesota, so it’s not all doom and gloom from here on out, but I’m certainly doing the cartoonish yank of my collar and going yeeeeeeesh.
It is still undetermined if Jordan Greenway will be returning to the lineup anytime soon, but they clearly miss his presence. Minnesota could really use the line with Greenway, Joel Eriksson Ek, and Marcus Foligno, to sturdy their lineup and in tight situations as an immaculate two-way force. But we shall wait and see.
But one good thing to think about: Matt Dumba will return to the lineup this afternoon to face the Stars. Surely giving the Wild much more security on the back-end and honestly, handing head coach Dean Evason a tough decision. Will it be Jon Merrill or Calen Addison getting knocked out of the lineup? My head says it will be Addison, because Evason loves his older guys and healthy-scratching a guy you just signed to a three-year extension isn’t a great look — but my heart wants Merrill because the Wild could really use Addison’s quickness and agility against a slower-moving Stars team.
Whatever happens, happens. Tune in to TNT at 3:00 p.m. for this one, gang.
Please, can we see some offensive depth?
The Wild right now are relying fairly heavily on the likes of Kaprizov, Zuccarello, Fiala, and even Boldy, to get the majority of the team’s goals, but I am just itching for a Nico Sturm goal, or a Connor Dewar goal, just to give us a little juice.
Does it matter who the goaltender is?
Probably not! Both are kind of playing like crap, even if Kaapo Kahkonen is making the more pretty saves, both have a sub-.900 save percentage through this stretch. Doesn’t look too good and the Wild certainly aren’t winning any games because of their goaltending for a couple months now. So let’s just think about the goaltending in this matinee.