The Minnesota Wild’s descent continued on Sunday as they matched a season-worst five-game losing streak with a 4-1 decision versus Chicago.
The Wild’s latest drop is actually worse than their previous slump in practical terms as they’ve only earned one consolation point over this drought compared to three from their Dec. 16-27 losing streak. Of course, both slumps have essentially blended together as part of a horrendous 2-7-4 stretch that has threatened to knock Minnesota out of the playoff race well before the conclusion of the season. This in the third campaign of the Zach Parise/Ryan Suter era that was supposed to lift the young franchise to previously unseen heights.
As was the case in Chicago’s 4-2 victory over Minnesota on Thursday, Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford stepped up. He turned aside 36 of 37 shots to earn his 17th victory of the season. However, this wasn’t a game that he stole for Chicago.
A combination of some heads up, skill plays by the Blackhawks and defensive mistakes by Minnesota put the Wild behind early tonight:
Chicago took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission. Brad Richards and Johnny Oduya added two more for the Blackhawks in the second frame.
Minnesota’s Matt Cooke found the back of the net at 15:08 of the third period but it was far too late to save his team. Unless the Wild wake up soon, Cooke’s goal could turn into an allegory of their season.