Start and finish are sore spots that sting Wild again in defeat

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 11, 2012 - 10:50 PM

The Wild rallied after trailing by two, only to commit defensive lapses that let Calgary pull away.

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Let's make this clear:

Wild coach Mike Yeo is tired of his team coming out flat to start home games. The fans, he said, deserve better.

He's upset that mistakes and an apparent lack of effort continue to turn winnable games into losses. He is angry about his team's recent tendency to allow odd-man rushes.

But what can he do? After a 4-3 loss to Calgary at Xcel Energy Center, Yeo promised to make whatever changes he could.

"We had a handful of guys who let us down tonight," Yeo said after the Wild lost its third consecutive home game. "The nice thing is we have one extra body now, and potentially another one on the way, and we're going to be playing guys that want to play hard."

Yeo was terse and clearly angry in his postgame news conference. The Wild took most of two periods to show up, having difficulty even connecting on passes while being outshot 18-12 in the first two periods, then falling behind 2-0 when Sven Baertschi scored his first NHL goal 1:43 into the third period.

Backs against the wall, the Wild fired back, getting two goals from Erik Christensen -- his first goals with the Wild -- 140 seconds apart, tying the score 4 1/2 minutes into the third period.

But mistakes cost the Wild the game.

Calgary went up 3-2 midway through the third when Devin Setoguchi's turnover led to a scramble that resulted in Jarome Iginla attempting a slapshot after a clearing attempt bounced to him. Iginla fell as he shot, but the puck squirted off his stick to Curtis Glencross, who scored into an open net at 10:17.

But it was Calgary's final goal that had Yeo steaming. With the Wild pressing, Calgary got the puck out of its zone. In a slow-developing play, the Flames turned the breakout into a 2-on-1 rush that ended when David Moss set up Olli Jokinen for the eventual game-winning goal at 14:42.

Setoguchi scored with 1:04 left with goalie Matt Hackett pulled, but the Wild got no closer.

To Yeo, there was no reason that final 2-on-1 should have happened. On the play it appeared Nick Johnson was the only forward who supported hard in the defensive zone. Dany Heatley and Kyle Brodziak appeared to be hanging back looking for a rush the other way.

"It's a lack of urgency on our part," Yeo said. "Our defenseman has a good gap, and this is two goals the last three games we've given up the same way. And it should not happen. It's just a matter of being ready to back up your defenseman, and a little bit of urgency that you're not going to allow the puck to get into your net.

"The last two weeks we've given up more 2-on-1s than we've given up all season. This is something we used to pride ourselves on. Now, all of a sudden, we're giving them up like crazy."

Nick Palmieri's turnover resulted in Calgary's first goal. After the game Setoguchi blamed himself for the turnover that led to Calgary's third goal. The Flames' fourth tally, though, is what got to Yeo.

"We had a lot of guys going tonight," he said. "We had a lot of guys but we didn't have everybody. And we were playing against a team that has 20 guys out there playing like they need to win. And there is a big difference if we have five or six guys that would like to win, it would be nice if they did."


    Up next: 7 p.m. Tuesday vs. Dallas • Xcel Energy Center • TV: FSN (830-AM)

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