Minnesota stormed to the top of the NHL’s power rankings across the board just within the past two weeks but it seems like an eternity ago for fans from the Land of 10,000 Lakes.
Critical injuries have strained the team’s chemistry, putting the Wild into an offensive funk.
|Mikko Koivu||1st Line C||Leg||Dec 22|
|Casey Wellman||2nd Line RW||Wrist||Dec 19|
|Guillaume Latendresse||1st Line RW||Post-Concussion Syndrome||Dec 15*|
|Devin Setoguchi||1st /2nd Line RW||Knee||Dec 8|
*Latendresse made appearances December 13th and 14th, but no others since November 10th
Four of the six loses came on the road. In Vancouver they were shut out. Three other loses came with just one goal in each.
Fortunately Minnesota was able to salvage a point a piece in OTLs to the Blackhawks and Islanders at home.
Losing Koivu, the team’s leader in points and assists certainly has hindered offensive production. The loss of other key forwards has not made it any easier.
To give you an idea, the Wild are just 1 of 15 on Power Play opportunities during this losing streak. While the Wild won’t be putting up the most PPPs anyways, Lantendresse, Koivu, and Setoguchi have all been a part of Minnesota’s 1st Power Play line (Wellman on the 2nd).
A sample such as this, where the replacements are working with a man advantage, can give insight to what Minnesota is really lacking right now, OFFENSE.
Koivu skated on Thursday and hopes to return for Monday’s game against the Avs.
Alone Mikko can’t keep up the Wild’s formerly torrid pace. Setoguchi has yet to practice and Lantendresse’s concussion problems could keep him off the ice for a while.
The schedule will not be Minnesota’s friend during this rough patch. Beginning the New Year, the Wild will only play three home games in the month of January.
That’s tough, but hopefully the Christmas break will give the team time to relax and refocus their energy.
Even with the current slide, Minnesota still has a one point advantage in the Northwest and only trails Chicago by three (the Western Conference’s point leader).