Wild's wave of defeatism continues

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 15, 2012 - 9:43 AM

Another one-goal game. Another third-period collapse. Another loss. The Wild is nothing if not consistent.

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Another one-goal game. Another third-period collapse. Another loss.

The Wild is nothing if not consistent.

With the season giving way, too, the Wild lost for the 21st time in 26 games Tuesday night when the Anaheim Ducks rallied for two goals in the final period to send the "One-Goal Wonders" off with a fifth consecutive defeat, this one by a 2-1 score, in front of the latest dejected Xcel Energy Center crowd.

Despite scoring first and early for a third consecutive game, the Wild fell to 0-3 on its four-game homestand when Niklas Hagman and Corey Perry sparked the Ducks' third-period rally.

The Wild, the NHL's second-worst offense -- averaging 2.16 goals per game -- has scored seven times in the past six games.

"We're making goalies look good, I think," said Dany Heatley, adding, "We can't get any worse goal-scoring wise. We're not getting any bounces at all. We've got to keep shooting the puck, keep generating chances. Eventually they're going to go in."

At this point -- 56 games into the season -- Wild fans will have to see it to believe it.

The Wild, 5-16-5 since Dec. 13, defended well against the surging Ducks, who are 13-2-3 in their past 18. It killed four penalties, including a double-minor at the end of the second and beginning of the third.

But because of that lack of offense, you always feel a collapse is around the corner.

"You can even see on the bench, when it's 1-0 and when we're getting some of these 2-on-1s, when we're getting some of these chances, when we don't score, guys on the bench are slamming their sticks," coach Mike Yeo said. "It's because there's the sense, 'Oh no, not again.'

"But that's what we've got to fight through."

Finally, with Wild fans bizarrely doing "The Wave" like it was 1985, it was stopped in its tracks when a Mikko Koivu turnover forced by his older brother, Saku, resulted in Hagman's tying goal 8:17 into the third.

"It's a turnover and it cost us a goal. It's my mistake," Koivu said.

Four minutes later, Perry flew by Nick Johnson at the blue line. Marco Scandella was late to pick up, and Perry, last year's NHL MVP and leading goal-scorer, squeezed a shot underneath Josh Harding's blocker.

Harding cheated to cut off the lane because he thought Perry would go to his "go-to" backhanded move. He didn't.

"I don't think he could have put it in a better spot," Harding said.

The Wild also had gripes with a series of non-calls by the officials. While the Wild killed Carson McMillan's double minor, Ryan Getzlaf tripped Kyle Brodziak for a potential shorthanded breakaway. Before Hagman's goal, he tripped Marek Zidlicky behind the net. Before Perry's goal, Jason Blake picked Johnson, which Yeo called a "slewfoot."

And with five minutes left, referee Denis LaRue missed a blatant Luca Sbisa hook on Erik Christensen. Seconds later, referee Ghislain Hebert called Nate Prosser for tripping Bobby Ryan.

Yeo didn't want to sound like a "whiner," though.

"It's amazing. The puck doesn't go in that one time, you don't get that one call, whatever it is, that's what we're going through," Yeo said.

All this came after Heatley's early power-play goal -- a beauty tap-in set up by Zidlicky when he slid along the blue line, dragged two penalty killers and set Heatley up with a blind, 50-foot pass.

"We'll keep fighting," Yeo said.

"Before you win consistently, you have to do things that winners do. It's easy to do the right things when things are going really well for you. How we handle this says a lot about us as well."

  • ANAHEIM 2, WILD 1

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