The Minnesota Wild continue to search for the consistent success that it enjoyed in the beginning of the NHL season. They have been 3-6-1 in their past ten games and questions of what they are going to do before the upcoming trade deadline on March 21 are rampant. Certainly, our recent goaltending has sucked worse than using hand sanitizer on a fresh paper cut. It has sucked worse than $4/gallon gas. It has sucked worse than biting into your favorite restaurant entrée, only to find the cook’s hair in it – well, I won’t go that far. My point is, even in Wild wins lately, it hasn’t been because of stellar goaltending, is all I’m saying.
Cam Talbot, who was seen as the #1 tendy is 3-4-0 in his last eight games, with a 3.84 goals-against average and .870 save percentage. Yikes!!! Kaapo Kahkonen isn’t any better with a 2-4-1 record in his past seven games with a 3.72 GAA and .886 save percentage. Play like that is not going to carry you very far into the postseason.
If you read my season-preview, goaltending was the biggest question for me going into the season and while we had a good first-half of the season, things have taken a turn. That begs the question if Wild General Manager, Bill Guerin, will go for broke and look at getting rental goaltending that could carry the team deep into the playoffs. Possible options would include Anton Forsberg of the Ottawa Senators, Braden Holtby of the Dallas Stars and, of course, Marc-Andre Fleury of the Chicago Blackhawks.
It is obvious that Guerin is not afraid of making bold moves after releasing Zach Parise and Ryan Suter before the start of the season. If he is willing to part with a few draft picks and/or a player or two, we could possibly get a much-needed spark in net.
After the All-Star break, the Wild have been inconsistent to say the least. In one game, they get look absolutely lackluster. The next game, they show fight and are determined to find a way to win, even if they are down. The recent game in Detroit shows what they are capable of and their performance was reminiscent of their first-half of the season.
Kirill Kaprizov (30G, 43A) continues to lead the Wild offense, along with Mats Zuccarello (19G, 41A), who had the absolute fake-out of Alex Nedeljkovic in the shootout to win the game against the Red Wings (watch it above). Kevin Fiala (20G, 33A) has been hot as of late. Matt Boldy continues to be a young stud for the Wild with 11 goals and 12 assists in his first 26 games in the NHL. As much as I want to believe in Talbot and Kahkonen however, relying on those two to win take us to the Stanley Cup Finals, is like believing Kirk Cousins will win the Super Bowl for Minnesota. Sorry Vikings fans, it ain’t gonna happen.
As we near the middle of March, hopefully the Wild can find their groove and become a dominate force in the Central Division once again. Now is the time, when the Wild need to get back to consistent hockey in order to position themselves well for the postseason. If that can’t do that yet, at least we have temperatures in the 50’s coming to Minnesota this week, silver lining. Spring is just over a week away!! Go Wild!!!!!