The Minnesota Wild have been one of the top teams in the NHL since the start of the year. They’ve been pretty consistent and haven’t really dropped off much…until now!
They’ve lost back-to-back games for the first time since losing three in a row between Nov. 26-Dec. 2 (two of those games were lost in overtime/shootout).
Last night’s 4-1 loss to Tampa was also their third defeat in their last four contests and head coach Bruce Boudreau is starting to get worried.
“I’m concerned,” Boudreau told the Star Tribune after his team’s latest loss. “We haven’t played very well. … After 65 games, this is our first really little bit of adversity that we’ve seen, so it’s going to be interesting to see how we handle it on the rest of this trip.”
The rest of this five-game road trip won’t be easy either. Minnesota will now travel to Florida, Chicago, Washington and Carolina before returning home to face the Rangers next Saturday.
Boudreau has had his line blender going for well over a week now. He’s tried to fit newly acquired forwards Martin Hanzal and Ryan White into the lineup, but he’s done it by mixing up his lines frequently. As you can imagine, some of the players don’t really appreciate that approach.
“You’d wish that right now we’d be able to find some consistency with [the line changes] and build a little familiarity right now,” Parise said. “But that’s not happening. So we’ve got to do the best that we can with whatever’s on the board and try to make it work.”
Every team goes through a slump at some point during an 82-game season, but this probably isn’t the ideal time to hit your first major bump in the road. But the Wild still have 17 games to figure things out before the playoffs.
There’s just one problem though! The Chicago Blackhawks are one point behind them for top spot in the Central.