I count three major components to a hockey team's performance during a game: goaltending, defense and offense. In their last game the Wild had two and a half of those things working. They received adequate goaltending, good team defense and they created chances offensively. But they didn't finish. That inability to finish has become a pathological issue for the Wild this season - as it has for the Wild every season since birth. The different this season is that we had so much more promise of offensive ability.
The hockey cognoscenti are saying that, in this short and condensed season, GMs and coaches are wise not to react in extremes after a game - good or bad. To have short memories, to accept that there will be good performances followed directly by head-scratching performances. On the one had this can be seen as sandbagging and deliberately supressing bar-setting. On the other, there's probably some truth to it. I don't really care which it is. But, adopting it, okay so based on the Vancouver game, we don't need to worry about goaltending or team defense. Or even the creation of chances. We just need to figure out how to finish.
I believe a team that's creating chances but not finishing will eventually turn those chances into goals. But the Wild has disproven that theory, again, basically every year of its existence. Nonetheless, 8 games without a goal has to be a rarity in Parise's career. So a mean reversion would indicate that he will score again, sooner or later.
And, the team is still within striking distance of the 8th seed in the West. So, all is not lost. As of now. Simply: they need to score.
Sitting last in the Northwest division, the Avalanche are showing the kinds of growing pains that many thought they would endure this season. On their website the Avs are lamenting their road woes, noting their (evidently unsatisfactory) "just over two goals per game." Two goals per game would be a nice problem to have, eh Wild fans?
Landeskog is still out. Parenteau and Duchene lead the Avs offensively. We'll see Giguere tonight in the cage.
GP MIN 13 COL 11
GF/GM MIN 29th 1.92 COL 28th 2.09
GA/GM MIN 9th 2.46 COL 15th 2.64
PP% MIN 21st 16.0% COL 30th 8.1%
Players in the Top 30 league scoring:
Wild should win this one. Despite that, I still think they will.
Final score: 4-2 Wild
Wild goal scorer: Suter