Wild's top line not filling the net

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 17, 2011 - 12:04 PM

Since opening night, only Devin Setoguchi has a goal, and it came on a power play.


Wild newcomer Devin Setoguchi( 10) battled with former Wild defenseman Cam Barker next to Oilers goalie Nikolai Khabibulin.

Photo: Richard Tsong-Taatarii, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

The good news is the season is five games old and the Wild has picked up points in four without the much-ballyhooed first line exploding offensively.

The bad news is the season's five games old and the Wild's much-ballyhooed first line hasn't exploded offensively.

Saturday night against the Detroit Red Wings, the Wild was pinned in its own zone for extended stretches. If the Wild was fortunate to escape, the puck was usually out of the offensive zone in a nanosecond.

The team desperately could have used the Devin Setoguchi-Mikko Koivu-Dany Heatley line to stop the bleeding.

However, not only couldn't the trio get anything going offensively, they showed frustration by turning pucks over and trying to do too many things individually.

"If you get frustrated, if you start to force things, if you lose your focus on the things you're supposed to do without the puck, then you just spiral into a deeper mess," coach Mike Yeo said after Saturday's 3-2 overtime loss.

"Those guys, they are battling hard. They're getting a few looks, but they're not getting as many looks because they want to help the team. They know that their job to help the team is to score goals. Right now they're more focused on the result of scoring the goal. Because of that, you force things, because of that you lose focus on other areas, and you lose opportunities to get to that part of your game."

In the preseason, when games weren't ramped up and they weren't facing shutdown defensemen such as Niklas Kronwall all game, the Wild's top line combined for seven goals and 12 assists in four games.

Since opening night, when Heatley and Setoguchi both scored in a victory over Columbus, the line has combined for one goal and two assists -- a Setoguchi power-play goal in Ottawa.

At even strength? Goose eggs. Against the Red Wings, the three combined for three shots.

"[Saturday] we didn't generate much because our line lacked support with our second guy on the forecheck and we only had one power play," Heatley said. "The first four games, we're happy with the chances we created. I don't think our numbers are great right now, but they could be. I think the chances were there the first four games where we could have had two or three or four [goals].

"Ottawa, Long Island, we could have won both those games on our chances alone."

Yeo said the first line's struggles against Detroit were emblematic of the team. For the first 10 minutes, the Wild held the mighty Red Wings to one shot. But slowly but surely, the Wild "did so many things to take ourselves out of the game and so many things to allow them to get to their game."

With Pittsburgh coming to town Tuesday, Yeo put the Wild through a "work day" Sunday. The Wild got itself into trouble against Detroit when it couldn't execute while tired.

"We'd be in our own zone for 30, 40 seconds. You can't then just get the puck and slap it around the wall, or you dig yourself a deeper hole," Yeo said. "You have to force yourself to move your feet, support the puck and get the puck out of bad situations so you can get fresh guys out on the ice.

"That's what today was about -- executing while tired. If you don't do it, then [the opponent] just keeps coming."

Yeo said the Wild must do a better job at helping the first line execute. If the Wild's continually chipping the puck out in order to make desperate line changes, the top line's routinely coming over the boards and already on its heels.

He's hoping Setoguchi and Heatley, who each had moments during Sunday's practice where they snapped their sticks in half, don't get frustrated.

"The only thing you worry about with guys like that is they put so much pressure on themselves to score goals and quite often things will get worse," Yeo said. "That's why guys can be so streaky. You think you have to score goals or you have to get two goals tonight to get on the pace you want to get on.

"Meanwhile, you're forgetting all the things you have to do to score goals. Like the team, you can't go into a game blind saying you want to win without taking the necessary steps to win that hockey game. Same thing for whether it's Heater or Seto or any player. If you want to score goals, you have to concentrate on what needs to be done to get those end results."

  • WILD

    Up next: 6:30 p.m. Tuesday vs. Pittsburgh at Xcel Energy Center • TV: VS. (100.3-FM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Chicago 17 FINAL
Detroit 34
Philadelphia 33 FINAL
Dallas 10
Seattle 19 FINAL
San Francisco 3
Cleveland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Washington 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee 11/30/14 12:00 PM
San Diego 11/30/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Oakland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
New Orleans 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Carolina 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Arizona 11/30/14 3:05 PM
New England 11/30/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Denver 11/30/14 7:30 PM
Kansas City
Miami 12/1/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
Edmonton 0 FINAL(OT)
Nashville 1
Robert Morris 71
Santa Clara 57 FINAL
Tennessee 64
Oklahoma 59 FINAL
Butler 46
Austin Peay 79 FINAL
Brown 58
Princeton 56 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 62
Coastal Carolina 67 FINAL
Chattanooga 78
Kansas 76 FINAL
Rhode Island 60
Wisconsin 68 FINAL
Georgetown 65
USC Upstate 68
Long Island 54 FINAL
Stony Brook 73
San Diego 71 FINAL
Xavier 82
Illinois 88 FINAL
Indiana State 62
Cal State Fullerton 67 FINAL
Wright State 62
Western Ky 62 FINAL
Saint Josephs 59
Michigan State 77 FINAL
Rider 45
North Carolina 78
Long Beach State 73 FINAL
Western Mich 55
Marquette 72 FINAL
Georgia Tech 70
Stephen F Austin 73 FINAL
Prairie View 61
Florida 56
Rice 71 FINAL
Mercer 77
San Jose St 56 FINAL
Washington 78
Washington St 43 FINAL
UC Santa Barbara 71
Baylor 71 FINAL
Memphis 47
Texas A&M 17
(6) TCU 48 FINAL
Texas 10
Northern Ill 10:00 AM
Western Mich
Nebraska 11:00 AM
Western Ky 11:00 AM
(19) Marshall
UCF 11:00 AM
So Florida
Houston 11:00 AM
Akron 12:00 PM
Kent State
Ball State 12:00 PM
Bowling Green
Buffalo 12:00 PM
Toledo 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Arkansas 1:30 PM
(17) Missouri
Navy 2:00 PM
South Alabama
(13) Arizona State 2:30 PM
(12) Arizona
Stanford 2:30 PM
(9) UCLA
(21) Colorado State 2:30 PM
Air Force
Virginia 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
East Carolina 7:30 PM
North Texas 11/29/14 11:00 AM
TX-San Antonio
Old Dominion 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Fla Atlantic
(16) Georgia Tech 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(8) Georgia
Kentucky 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(24) Louisville
So Carolina 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(23) Clemson
West Virginia 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Rice 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Louisiana Tech
Michigan 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(7) Ohio State
Purdue 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Illinois 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Cincinnati 11/29/14 11:00 AM
NC State 11/29/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Syracuse 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Louisiana 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Utah 11/29/14 12:00 PM
Texas State 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Idaho 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Appalachian St
Wyoming 11/29/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico
New Mexico St 11/29/14 2:00 PM
Arkansas State
UAB 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(4) Miss State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Notre Dame 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(10) Michigan State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Penn State
(22) Minnesota 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(14) Wisconsin
(5) Baylor 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Texas Tech
Florida 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
Rutgers 11/29/14 2:30 PM
San Jose St 11/29/14 2:30 PM
San Diego St
Tennessee 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Kansas 11/29/14 3:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Connecticut 11/29/14 3:00 PM
BYU 11/29/14 3:30 PM
ULM 11/29/14 5:00 PM
Ga Southern
Middle Tennessee 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Hawaii 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Fresno State
Wake Forest 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Pittsburgh 11/29/14 6:00 PM
(15) Auburn 11/29/14 6:45 PM
(2) Alabama
(3) Oregon 11/29/14 7:00 PM
Oregon State
Utah State 11/29/14 9:15 PM
(25) Boise State
Washington 11/29/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Nevada 11/29/14 9:30 PM
UCF 12/4/14 6:30 PM
East Carolina
Hamilton 11/30/14 5:00 PM
Hartford 43 FINAL
Furman 53
Clemson 77 FINAL
Ohio State 86
Idaho State 53 FINAL
San Diego State 68
East Carolina 58 FINAL
(22) Syracuse 69
Santa Clara 0 Cancelled
Texas-El Paso 0
Florida State 68 FINAL
Washington 80
Wichita State 39 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 56
Wisconsin 44 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 67
Kansas State 0 Cancelled
BYU-Hawaii 52
Charlotte 58 FINAL
Montana 67
Illinois 77 FINAL
(9) Kentucky 71
Central Michigan 61 FINAL
Richmond 56
Oklahoma 68 FINAL
South Florida 83
Princeton 72 FINAL
Wake Forest 55
(19) Oregon State 85 FINAL
Butler 53
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Who is your favorite Wild player?

Weekly Question