One of the Wild’s main areas of concern last year was a lack of scoring — the team only averaged 2.46 goals per game, 22nd in the league.
This year, the lack of offensive production (2.11 goals per game) is an issue once again.
That’s why head coach Mike Yeo is stressing a need for creativity and aggression heading into tonight’s affair with Nashville, hoping the Wild can bust out of a slump that’s seen them score just five goals over the last four games.
“We’ve got to create more chances. We have to have an attack mentality,” Yeo told Fox Sports Minnesota. “When there’s an opportunity to finish, we’ve got to finish.”
Getting pucks on goal hasn’t been a problem thus far. Minnesota is averaging 30 per game.
The power play isn’t an issue, either. The Wild are going at a 26.3 percent clip, fourth-best in the NHL.
But it’s at even strength where the team suffers. Minnesota only has nine 5-on-5 goals this year — third-fewest in the league — are is the only team in the league with more power-play goals than even strength ones.
According to Zach Parise, the solution to these goalscoring woes is simple — less perimeter play, more guys crashing the goal.
“Right now, we’ve just got our guy in the high slot waiting for a one-timer, and our other guys on the outside,” he told the Minnesota Star-Tribune. “That’s not how you score. We need to get some guys going through the middle and getting around the net, penetrating the defense a little bit.’’
It’s been getting that spotlight since the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a brisk playoff series, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the bad blood stemmed to Dubinsky’s days with New York.
To some, Dubinsky’s cross-check on Crosby will resonate far more than the end result of this game:
The bottom line is that he’ll get the last laugh, at least for now. (In-game, that moment merely drew a minor penalty.)
That’s because Dubinsky set up the overtime game-winner, and the cherry on the top of that spite sundae came with Crosby being on the ice when it happened:
They’re not just rubbing the Penguins the wrong way.
Cheap shot on a superstar, a little uncalled goalie interference and presto – Blue Jackets win!
The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.
You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.
That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:
Coach Bylsma: Feel like after Jack's goal, the game changed for us. #gamechanger