Typically following Wild games, Managing Editor Glen Andresen will give the five takeaways that he'll remember from each contest. Tonight, he looks back at a 3-1 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets:
The Minnesota Wild’s 3-1 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets has to leave Wild fans scratching their heads. Players and coaches have to be doing the same thing. Yesterday, Head Coach Mike Yeo refused to promise a Wild victory, but he repeatedly said he expected a strong, angry and hungry team to come out and play the way they have to in order to be successful.
Considering the Wild heavily outshot and outchanced the Jackets, you’d have to say Yeo was right. But it didn’t matter. The Wild could only muster a Devin Setoguchi
goal on Mason, who turned away 34 shots in the game.
The Wild is still easily within striking distance of a playoff spot, but it’s starting to get dicey. Every Western Conference team is seemingly picking up at least one point per night. And the Wild needs to right the ship quickly and rattle off some wins to keep pace.
“We knew that was a possibility,” said Yeo who was pleased with his team’s play, but not the result. “Sometimes you don’t get what you deserve, but usually you do.”
The biggest head scratcher is how the line of Mikko Koivu
, Dany Heatley
and Setoguchi could only muster one goal in this one. For the second straight game since Koivu’s return from an upper body injury, the trio was magnificent. They were always controlling the puck, generating chances and causing Mason to shed about eight pounds of water weight over the course of two hours.
But just one goal. Nothing else. Mason made the saves on breakaways, or shots clanked off iron. That line was also very good against Vancouver, but again, it didn’t result in victory.
Still, Yeo is likely to ride those horses the rest of the way, as they'll be the ones behind a turnaround.
Mason came up with one of those saves that would easily make SportsCenter’s Top Ten plays, if SportsCenter ever showed plays that weren’t dunks or touchdowns. During a second period Wild power play, Erik Christensen
fired a shot through traffic that got through to Mason. Kyle Brodziak
was right there battling for the rebound, and while falling down, he was able to slide the puck toward the goal for what looked like a sure goal.
Mason was able to throw his blocker hand back and smother it just as it got to the goal line. The initial call was no goal, and a replay failed to show any evidence to contradict the call. Here it is
Yeo made a point to say that he was confused how his team drew just one power play to four for Columbus. After all, the Wild controlled the puck almost all night. There were plenty of plays that could have been called, but none were.
Again, the referees don’t determine wins and losses, but this does seem a little alarming. The Wild has drawn just 178 power plays this season. The fewest power play opportunities the Wild have ever had was 292 last year. It seems like there’s a good chance the team will be below that this year.
Greg Zanon was an offensive defenseman when he wore the red and black for Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks. But in the NHL, he’s blocked more shots than he’s taken. Tonight, Zanon turned up the offense, at least according the stat sheet. He tied for the team lead with five shots, tying a career-high set last year against Columbus, and that game went to overtime. Tonight, he did it in regulation and was the only Wild player with a positive rating (+1) tonight.