Short players, and urgency, Wild falls again

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 18, 2011 - 1:52 AM

A lackluster effort brought a late tie and a second shootout loss in a row.

view larger photos


For the Wild's sake, hopefully Mikko Koivu, Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Devin Setoguchi, Guillaume Latendresse and Casey Wellman have been flooded with "get well soon" cards and chicken soup.

The announced crowd of 18,209 at Xcel Energy Center got to see what life looks like without those five injured forwards all at once Saturday night.

It's fairly unsightly.

The Wild should feel fortunate Niklas Backstrom had its back against the worst team in the Eastern Conference, or there's no chance it would have stolen a point from a 2-1 shootout loss to the New York Islanders.

"We had no business being in that game after two periods. We got one point because of him," an edgy coach Mike Yeo said of Backstrom, who made 35 saves. "The last game [against Chicago on Wednesday] was a shootout loss that felt like a win. This was a shootout loss that felt like a loss."

Frans Nielsen's Koivu-like forehand-deke-backhand shootout goal proved to be the winner after Matt Cullen, Marek Zidlicky and Dany Heatley were stuffed by Al Montoya. Decimated by injury and dressing a lineup more emblematic of the Houston Aeros, the Wild's winless skid hit three games (0-1-2) for the first time this season.

Of course, the optimist would remind that the point in the standings at least kept Minnesota atop the NHL and Western Conference standings by a point.

But Yeo was in no mood after a terrible performance was masked in the third period by Cal Clutterbuck's tying goal.

"Fancy plays and soft plays and just things that are completely uncharacteristic of us when we have a full lineup, let alone when there should be more urgency and desperation in our game," Yeo said.

Down so many top-six forwards, the Wild needed to outwork the Islanders, not outskill them. But the only consistent physical tone was set by the third line of Colton Gillies (five hits), Warren Peters and -- in his NHL debut -- Jarod Palmer, who was arguably the Wild's best forward Saturday night.

The line combined for 10 of the Wild's 21 shots, and as Yeo said, "As far as I'm concerned, they turned the game around."

Peters credited Palmer, the Fridley native, who had six shots.

"He threw pucks at the net, kept it simple and carried the momentum of our line," Peters said.

In what would have been a dream, Palmer had the potential overtime winning pass from Nick Johnson slide off his heel.

"Wish I had it back," said Palmer, who said his body was tingling all night.

The Wild was outshot 15-2 in an excruciating-to-watch second period. The Wild trailed 1-0 on Andy MacDonald's goal, but it felt like 10-0, and much of the sellout crowd serenaded the Wild with boos as it left the ice.

"We weren't skating, we weren't anticipating anything, we weren't making hard plays and we spent way too much time chasing the puck," center Kyle Brodziak said.

Clutterbuck said that with this many injuries, "We just have to work that much harder. We didn't work nearly hard enough in the first two periods considering the circumstance. The guys that are here on a regular basis, we have to pick it up."

Yeo said Bouchard was close to playing, but a team down five forwards who have all played top-two-line roles with a three-road trip against all divisional opponents on the horizon is not ideal.

But maybe that's the remedy, Yeo thinks. The Wild is 2-3-2 against the East, rarely playing them with "the right emotion, the right desperation," Yeo said.

"We're going into Vancouver [Monday]. We're going to know how we're going to have to play that game."

  • related content

  • 2011: The NHL's concussion dilemma

    Thursday May 8, 2014

    Solutions are elusive as the league seeks what might be impossible: making the game safer without sacrificing speed.

  • Fridley's Jarod Palmer thrilled by sudden debut

    Sunday December 18, 2011

    The Fridley native is the depleted Wild's 10th rookie called up, and dozens of family and friends were expected to be in attendance.

  • Recap: Islanders 2, Wild 1 (SO)

    Saturday December 17, 2011

    1. Niklas Backstrom, Wild: Playing behind a depleted lineup that was missing most of its top forwards, the goalie made 35 saves through overtime.

  • New York Islanders center Frans Nielsen (51), of Denmark, scores the g...

  • New York Islanders center John Tavares (91) battles for the puck with...


  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Team Irvin 32 FINAL
Team Carter 28
Miami 96 FINAL
Chicago 84
Oklahoma City 98 FINAL
Cleveland 108
Dallas 106 FINAL
New Orleans 109
Indiana 106 FINAL
Orlando 99
LA Clippers 120 FINAL
Phoenix 100
Minnesota 100 FINAL
Atlanta 112
Detroit 110 FINAL
Toronto 114
Milwaukee 95 FINAL
San Antonio 101
Boston 111 FINAL
Golden State 114
Washington 117 FINAL
Denver 115
Houston 99 FINAL
LA Lakers 87
Team Toews 17 FINAL
Team Foligno 12
South Florida 53 FINAL
Connecticut 66
Boston College 64 FINAL
Georgia Tech 62
Virginia 50 FINAL
Virginia Tech 47
Indiana 70 FINAL
Ohio State 82
Stony Brook 61 FINAL
Binghamton 54
Cincinnati 56 FINAL
UCF 46
Maine 70 FINAL
Hartford 61
Monmouth 64 FINAL
Manhattan 71
Fairfield 67 FINAL
Marist 73
Rowan 48 FINAL
Princeton 96
St Bonaventure 48 FINAL
Rhode Island 53
Duke 77 FINAL
St Johns 68
Saint Peters 69 FINAL
Siena 55
Drake 40 FINAL
Wichita State 74
Vermont 61 FINAL
UMass Lowell 50
Seton Hall 57 FINAL
Butler 77
South Alabama 55
Northern Iowa 54 FINAL
Illinois State 53
Louisville 80 FINAL
Pittsburgh 68
Albany 69
Niagara 64 FINAL
Iona 87
Notre Dame 81 FINAL
NC State 78
Belmont 63 FINAL
Tennessee St 55
Creighton 50 FINAL
Villanova 71
Northwestern 67 FINAL
Maryland 68
Washington 56 FINAL
Utah 77
Senior-North 34 FINAL
Senior-South 13
Seton Hall 99 FINAL
Georgetown 85
St Johns 69 FINAL
Villanova 81
Arkansas 58 FINAL
Florida 72
Maine 56 FINAL
Vanderbilt 55 FINAL
Alabama 52
Lafayette 60 FINAL
Lehigh 65
SMU 57
Utah 51 FINAL
Washington 63
James Madison 73 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 53
Delaware 56 FINAL
Drexel 61
Hofstra 56 FINAL
William & Mary 57
Hartford 58 FINAL
Albany 82
Binghamton 54 FINAL
Stony Brook 67
Towson 63 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 71
Wake Forest 80 FINAL
(17) Florida State 110
Georgia Tech 68 FINAL
Virginia 62
(22) Georgia 51 FINAL
(5) Tennessee 59
Drake 79 FINAL
Evansville 62
Iona 80 FINAL
Canisius 62
Fairfield 33 FINAL
Monmouth 59
Northwestern 75 FINAL
Penn State 76
Wisconsin 71 FINAL
Michigan State 77
Ohio State 79 FINAL
Purdue 71
Northern Iowa 57 FINAL
Indiana State 55
Butler 58 FINAL
Xavier 54
Creighton 93 FINAL
Marquette 75
Providence 42 FINAL
DePaul 90
Northeastern 77 FINAL
Elon 80
(2) Connecticut 96 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Oregon 78 FINAL
Arizona 81
Bradley 46 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 45
NC State 49 FINAL
(23) Syracuse 66
(7) Maryland 84 FINAL
Indiana 74
Illinois State 35 FINAL
Missouri State 58
Colorado 68 FINAL
Washington St 73
Tulane 45 FINAL
South Florida 64
(14) Kentucky 83 FINAL
Missouri 69
(9) Oregon State 68 FINAL
(13) Arizona State 57
Vermont 63 FINAL
UMass Lowell 72
Iowa State 58 FINAL
(8) Texas 57
Southern Ill 61 FINAL
Wichita State 80
(15) Duke 74 FINAL
(12) North Carolina 67
Miami-Florida 55 FINAL
(4) Louisville 68
(21) Minnesota 61 FINAL
(25) Rutgers 66
California 72 FINAL
(11) Stanford 71 FINAL
USC 60
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Does a Stadium Series outdoor Wild game get you excited?

Weekly Question