Wild drop a rough one to Pittsburgh
So, this one’s a little late, but I didn’t have a choice but to be late with it, so let’s take a look at the debacle that was the Wild’s 4-1 loss against the Pens on Saturday.
This one was rough. The Wild just couldn’t get going. They had flown in that morning and, let me tell you, it showed. Their legs weren’t moving – they were stationary almost the entire game – and they just looked tired out there.
In fact, both teams looked tired, which led to a ton of power plays and, ultimately, was the decider. The Wild went 0-for-9 with the man advantage, while Pittsburgh went 4-for-6.
I don’t care who you are, you’re not going to win if the power play stats look like that.
The Wild’s power play was abysmal all night long. They looked sluggish and they just didn’t shoot the puck, which is a problem for a coach like Yeo who is preaching a shoot-first philosophy.
Here are some of my thoughts on the game:
- Backstrom didn’t look terrible in net. It’s hard to judge the goalie in a game like this, because he wasn’t getting a whole lot of help either. He had traffic in front of him for most of the night and, until the third period, Minnesota wasn’t really doing much to move the play down to the other end. That makes for a long night for a goalie.
- Scandella impressed by jumping to the defense of Matt Cullen in the second period, and that 19 penalty minutes might have saved him from being part of the roster cuts on Sunday. Yeah, the ensuing power plays led to three of Pittsburgh’s goals, but he got them doing what he should have done – standing up for a teammate.
- Wellman looked rusty, and that’s very understandable. This was essentially his first action of the pre-season. He did lead the team in shots, though, so he was at least doing what the rest of the team wasn’t.
- I continue to be impressed by Clayton Stoner this preseason. Not only was he good defensively, he was jumping into the rush, which is something that we’re not too used to from Stoner.
- The impressive stat of the night: Jordan Hendry played 6:12 on the penalty kill. That’s three and a half minutes more than the next closest player. That should tell you something about the trust that he has earned so far. The kid was cut from camp on Sunday, but was essentially told by Fletcher that, if he couldn’t find a one-way contract somewhere, he had a two-way deal waiting for him in Minnesota but that he would be starting down in Houston.
So, that’s that for the gamer. We’ll have a look at the roster cuts coming up here in a bit.