Yeo says: 'It's way too early to start panicking'

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 27, 2013 - 10:56 AM
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Head coach Mike Yeo during training camp.

Photo: Richard Tsong-Taatarii, Star Tribune

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ST. LOUIS - Mike Yeo said after Friday's loss in Detroit that he didn't want to overreact.

The Wild coach lived up to those words Saturday when the Wild hit the Scottrade Center ice to prepare for Sunday night's game against the St. Louis Blues.

"It's way too early to start panicking," Yeo said.

The Wild is 2-2, but Yeo feels it very easily could be 4-0. But in consecutive losses to Nashville and Detroit, the Wild made big mistakes right after not scoring in key moments.

"That's the only frustrating thing," center Kyle Brodziak said. "In three years I've been here, I'd never played against Detroit like that before where the game was ours really. We definitely outplayed them and I don't remember ever doing that.

"I think everybody in here still has a sense that we do have a good team, but we do have to take the next step."

The "next step" is a familiar theme that never got rectified from last year. It's scoring more 5-on-5 goals so it takes some pressure off the power play.

Last year, the Wild scored 112 5-on-5 goals -- last in the NHL. This year, five of the Wild's nine goals have come 5-on-5, which was tied for 13th before Saturday's games.

"This has a different feel for me," Yeo said. "Last year, even when we were in first place, the majority of the wins that we had, we were getting outchanced and outshot every night."

This season, the Wild outshot its opponents the first three games. While it was outshot by one in a 5-3 loss to the Red Wings, Minnesota attempted 16 more shots on goal, meaning it had the puck more, especially in the offensive zone.

Yeo wants the second, third and fourth lines to start emulating the top line of Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu and Dany Heatley more. Parise and Heatley have three goals each and the trio has combined for 51 shots.

"We're looking to make a lot of nice plays to the middle of the ice, and a lot of times they're not there," Yeo said. "So we have to find a way to generate more pucks to the net with bodies around the net."

Second-liners Matt Cullen and Devin Setoguchi have combined for one assist and 12 shots. Cullen missed practice Saturday but is expected to play against the Blues.

But Yeo indicated that Pierre-Marc Bouchard will move to the second line with Mikael Granlund and Setoguchi.

"Part of me wants to put Butch up there to see what he can do," Yeo said. "At the same time, I'm still really happy with Brodzy's line. ... [But] we have to try to spark something [on the second line]. Maybe one change like that may do it."

Suter offers no excuses

Whether it's a matter of circumstance like Yeo believes or not, defenseman Ryan Suter isn't happy having been on the ice for eight of the 10 goals the Wild has allowed.

"Plus-minus is a good thing when you're plus and a bad thing when you're minus," Suter, a minus-4, said, kiddingly. "Some of them have been fluky and deflections here and there, but you don't want to be on for any goal against."

Suter played his entire career in Nashville alongside Shea Weber. That created a comfort and a trust of always knowing what his partner would do.

"No excuses," Suter said. "It would be nice to get that chemistry going again. ... Everyone's a good player in here. We just have to go out and get familiar fast."

Etc.

• Suter's original defense partner Jared Spurgeon, who hasn't skated since injuring his foot Tuesday against Nashville, is unlikely to play his second consecutive game.

• Yeo said he is considering playing enforcer Matt Kassian, who was scratched the first four games, against St. Louis.

• Defenseman Marco Scandella didn't play in Houston's 5-1 victory at Grand Rapids on Saturday night. That could mean he has been promoted to the Wild. If so, the Wild would have to place Spurgeon on injured reserve or return Matt Dumba to WHL Red Deer.

• Blues players will wear No. 6 Musial jerseys in warmups Saturday to honor Cardinals great Stan Musial, who was laid to rest Saturday in St. Louis. The jerseys will be auctioned with proceeds benefiting Cardinals Care and the Blues 14 Fund.

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