It's got to be frustrating to go on a very decent .600 run like the Wild recently has, and not make up any ground in the super-tight Western Conference. But such is life for the mediocre teams like the Wild. It might not take 24 games, but it seems the only thing that will get one of the 8 or so teams fighting for the 8th place in the West some separation from the pack is a good streak.
In just a couple games, Cullen and Suter will pass Parise for points on the season. The effort is still there, the shots, the chances, but not the finish. Fair or not, we need points from him. And everything else. But we need points first and foremost. What's the statute of limitations on giving him a break? When do we get to his 'bi-lateral leg weakness' moment and realize it's okay to demand more from him? Before or after they let more teams pass them in the playoff race?
This team can be very good. We've seen that. Better even, with Parise, than we've been in the preceding few seasons, I'd say. But the inconsistency - a problem that pre-dates Parise to be sure - is maddening.
We're back to questioning the professionalism and leadership of a team that cannot, will not, put out three straight periods of good effort. That's the annual issue with this team. And this year is apparently no different - it's just a sexier roster in which to be disappointed.
Who cares? They're the Predators. They play among the most boring brands of hockey in the league - it's effective, don't get me wrong - but it's dead boring.
Their fans should be geeked up for the start of this one with Suter coming back for the first time.
GP MIN 22 NAS 24
GF/GM MIN 25th 2.27 NAS 30th 2.12
GA/GM MIN 10th 2.50 NAS 5th 2.29
PP% MIN 22nd 15.4% NAS 21st 15.6%
PK% MIN 5th 86.8% NAS T26th 77.2%
Preds come out flying with crowd behind them, score two early, Wild cannot overcome.
Final score: 3-1 Predators win
Wild goal scorer: Suter (Machiavelli laughs)