For the second time this season the Minnesota Wild has shown that they are simply not suited for over-hyped game situations. With the newly-placed- "under watch" Philadelphia Flyers in town, and the full faith and credit of the disciplinary arm of the NHL firmly focused on the Xcel Energy Center, the Wild came out flat, pissed away two 5:3s, got bad goaltending, suffered another injury to a key player, and played as if they were generally disinterested in winning the game - which they didn't.
The injury is to Nick Schultz, and the nature and extent of it is as yet undisclosed. It looked like he took a puck to the throat. It also left us with a defense corps of Carney, Burns, Hill, Skoula and Johnsson that, between the extra ice time and general defensive efficiency, did not play very well for the balance of the game.
Nik Backstrom had one of his worst games in memory. On the first Flyers goal, the initial shot went through his legs, hit the post, caromed back into his leg pad - while he was looking the opposite way - and he essentially pushed it over the goal line with his leg. On the second Flyers goal, granted Jeff Carter was left all alone on the doorstep, but Nik made a weak sort-of half-poke check move and then had absolutely no recovery back to his right afterward. Carter had an empty net to poke the puck into. On the third Flyers goal, well a slapper from five feet outside the blue line is never a good goal. With the B2B coming up Friday and Saturday, I would hope we'd see Mr. Harding between the pipes at least once.
Aaron Voros did his usual great job being a pain in the butt, and drawing three penalties, I believe. But I did not think he clicked at all on the "top" line with Gaby and Demo. I would like to see the Mario Bros. (read: plumbers) line reunited for the Detroit game. Voros, Sheppard and Foy/Veilleux have just been too effective not to keep running them out there together.
So ends the stretch of 7-of-8 at home. The Wild went 4-3 in those seven games to further unearth a disturbing lack of killer instinct on home ice where they're now 10-5. Given that they're 5-5-2 on the road, you have to think that they'll need to be better than 0.667% at home.
They now venture out for five-straight on the road. None of the games are division games, but all of them are conference games.
Up first is the dreaded Detroit Red Wings, against whom the Wild has struggled mightily since birth.
CHICKEN LITTLE SAYS: Just when you thought they were getting it together...
POLLYANNA SAYS: No one got run by the Flyers!
BOTTOM LINE: Confidence is just too fleeting with this squad.
STUD: I guess I'll say Demo since we absolutely need him to be putting the puck in the net.
DUD: Backstrom was awful.