Do The Wild Have a Plan?

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Wild lost their 7th game in a row against the Detroit Red Wings today. Despite leading the Red Wings in shots 38-23, the Wild lost 4-1. Even though they looked good in the second period, outshooting the Red Wings 15-6, it still wasn’t enough when they came back for the third.

Each team came away with 14 minutes of penalties, meaning that special teams occupied a significant amount of time during the game. So, where do they go from here? Do they have a plan for the rest of the season?

Visible Frustration

The Wild are understandably frustrated. This season has gone differently than anyone predicted. But that means some players, namely Matt Boldy, have started to take stupid penalties. Boldy took two penalties in the first period, with the second coming less than two minutes after he came out of the penalty box the first time. 

Boldy’s season has been downright baffling. After signing a big paycheck last year, it was expected that his production would be even better this year. Last year, Boldy had 63 points, 31 goals and 32 assists. In 11 games he’s played this season, he has 8 points. The most surprising part of that is that only 1 of those points is a goal. Boldy was injured early in the season, which could explain some of his problems. But he’s also struggled with trying to make a pretty play instead of getting pucks to the net and trying for a garbage goal.

Special Teams Were a Problem Again

In a penalty-filled game, the Wild had 5 power plays but were only able to score on one. A 20% power-play percentage isn’t going to help at all. The only bright side is that Joel Eriksson Ek scored the one goal for the Wild on a power play. He has 6 out of his 9 goals so far this season were with the man advantage. 

The penalty kill didn’t work either. After seeming to spring back starting during the games in Sweden, the Wild penalty kill let in 2 goals during the 5 Red Wings power plays. Even more frustrating is that most of the penalties the Wild took were caused by frustration. The Wild have allowed 23 power-play goals this season, the highest in the league.

Who Is Doing Their Jobs?

Out of all of the players, the line that seems to understand their role best is the fourth line. They consistently were able to push the Wings into their own zone and set up play for the top line. In a game full of penalties, they stayed disciplined and weren’t called for anything. In fact, Brandon Duhaime made a creative play after losing his stick by pushing a Red Wings player off of the puck and kicking it to Connor Dewar.

Joel Eriksson Ek has had a great season so far. Even with a tough season, Ek is showing that he is still improving every year. Currently, Ek has the most goals on the team (10) and is third in points (17). As a team that’s struggled on the faceoff dot, Ek currently has a 51.9% faceoff wins. He’s shown improvement in faceoff percentage every year along with getting better in points and assists. He’s also averaging 20:22 minutes on the ice each game, bringing his strong play with him.

There was a point where all five Wild players were stuck on the ice for extended shifts, but managed to survive and prevent the Red Wings from scoring.

What’s Next?

The Wild need to turn it around if they don’t want to continue their race to the bottom of the league. That might be a change behind the bench. If that’s a possibility, it’ll need to happen fast because the Wild play at home against the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday followed by an away game against the Nashville Predators on Thursday.

Boldy Is Awkward and So Am I Her Wild Side Hockey Podcast

In this episode, Mikki delights in the plethora of social media content lately, along with Kaprizov getting the first NHL star of the week. She also totally understands Boldy's awkward shower answer and commiserates with an awkward story of her own. Links:Her Wild Side Merch Shop!Ticketmaster Affiliate LinkSocial Media:TwitterInstagramFacebookFor more from us, visit Inside The RinkHow to support us and our sponsors:Columbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITR    
  1. Boldy Is Awkward and So Am I
  2. A Bonkers MN Wild Game Calls for a Bonkers Podcast Episode
  3. In Which the Fourth Line Carried the Team in Chicago
  4. In Which the All-Star Break Starts
  5. In Which We Talk Wild Lore and PWHL Minnesota

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