Wild's low-energy output leaves it with sick feeling

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 28, 2011 - 11:51 AM

The Flames came out in charge and in sync and stayed there, as the dead-legged Wild wasn't up to the challenge.


Calgary's J.T. Brodie, left, goes to the ice while chasing the puck with Minnesota's Darroll Powe.

Photo: Tom Olmscheid, Associated Press

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Turkey comas usually subside the day after Thanksgiving, but the Wild's lasted through the weekend.

In a startlingly sloppy, lethargic performance, the Wild got run over and run around by the Calgary Flames during an ugly 5-2 home loss.

"The good news is I don't think we can play worse than that," said coach Mike Yeo.

Added captain Mikko Koivu, "This can't happen again."

After a spine-tingling tribute to the late Derek Boogaard before the game that captured the fans' collective heart, the same crowd turned understandably restless and spent much of Sunday's game booing the Wild after turnovers, shoddy power plays and extended shifts in their own end.

The Wild, which has lost two in a row since winning 10 of 12, was that bad in every area.

"I don't think we even got started. They were going the whole game and we were watching," winger Devin Setoguchi said. "We didn't even dip the toe in the water. We just kind of sat outside of it."

Niklas Backstrom was pulled by the 9-minute mark. By 20 minutes, Yeo had shuffled all three defense pairs after a careless first period with the puck. A Setoguchi dribbler was the Wild's first shot of the third period.

The first, third and fourth lines spent many shifts pinned. It was so bad, the Cal Clutterbuck-Matt Cullen-Pierre-Marc Bouchard line was the best in terms of creating offense, yet finished a combined minus-8.

There was little speed, little urgency, and things unraveled early in the third when the Wild didn't come close to tying on a power play. Moments later, it was 4-2 when Josh Harding couldn't retreat fast enough after he rimmed the puck to Alex Tanguay.

"Our battle level wasn't where it needs to be," Cullen said. "We're not the kind of team that can come out and hope it goes one way or the other, just play and let things happen. We've got to go make it happen."

The blue line particularly struggled.

Marco Scandella got walked around by Lee Stempniak on the second goal. Jared Spurgeon had trouble holding the blue line and was allergic to shooting. Nate Prosser fell, swung and missed on one shot and fanned on another -- and that was on one shift. Clayton Stoner turned the puck over twice on one shift and Justin Falk repeatedly turned it over.

Yeo said there's "definitely a good chance" Mike Lundin, who has missed all season because of a back injury, makes his Wild debut Monday night against his former team, Tampa Bay, and the coaching staff will discuss whether veteran Greg Zanon returns after missing 16 games because of a torn groin.

"Bad breaks, left and right. Bad decisions, left and right," Falk said. "We're young back there, we're trying to learn."

Clutterbuck scored first on a power-play beauty before Mark Giordano scored from a bad angle. Trailing 2-1, Nick Johnson tied it after a series of strong plays by Kyle Brodziak, but Backstrom was pulled 8:45 in after TJ Brodie scored a soft one.

Backstrom had a .960 save percentage in his previous six games but was starting for the first time since Nov. 17.

"He's been really good. He had an off night," Yeo said.

He also had quite the week, becoming a father, then sitting through the emotional tribute of his close friend, Boogaard. Backstrom said it was tough to play after the tribute, but "three goals go through me, you have to find a way to stop them one way or another."


Jarome Iginla, the all-time leading scorer against the Wild, got an early shower when somebody from the Wild bench sprayed the Calgary captain with a water bottle after he scored in the third period.

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