After losing to the Buffalo Sabres 3-2 on Tuesday, Head Coach Mike Yeo lamented the Minnesota Wild's lack of a shot-first mentality.
The Wild fell behind 3-0 in the first period, but cut that deficit to 3-1 through two, outshooting Buffalo 15-4 in the second.
Then in the third, Minnesota took two shots over the first 17 minutes, and the scoring chances waned.
"First off we don't want to play off the shot right now," Yeo said. "We got shot opportunities, and we're looking for a better play."
The Wild, who had the better of possession over the final two periods against Buffalo, led in shot attempts 28-24, a margin that didn't reflect how often Minnesota had the puck.
"This has been going on for a while," Yeo said. "I can't count how many two-on-one's we've had where we can't get shots on goal, let alone scoring chances. This is something we're going to have to change."
It was a similar message to what Yeo delivered after the Wild's previous home loss, 2-1, against the New Jersey Devils. Minnesota had recorded seven shots on goal through the first two periods.
"We try to make four more passes to get the puck back to the same spot to try to shoot it again," Yeo said after the Devils game. "We had the mindset that we were going to try to look for a better opportunity, and along the way we lost the one that we had."
The Devils play a compact system that forces teams to play on the outside. Against Buffalo, the Sabres adopted a defensive mindset after jumping out to an early lead. Each game in turn presented a similar defensive posture to crack.
"If you're not willing to shoot against a team that's — they're protecting a lead," Yeo said on Tuesday. "They're obviously going to play tight, so if you're not trying to create off the shot then you're not going to get much."
Yeo also said he thinks those sequences won't end in one-offs.
"You have to understand that, especially against a team like that you can't be content to stay on the outside," he said on Sunday. "You have to create off the shot, and quite often one shot leads to three others."
At 7pm on Wednesday on KFAN, Kevin Falness will be joined by Wild rookie defenseman Mike Reilly, and Brad Maxwell.