Wild players hope for turnaround victory

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 7, 2013 - 12:13 AM

After losing four of its past five, Minnesota looks to ‘reset’ its season.

hide

Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom looked back at a goal shot by St. Louis' Kevin Shattenkirk

Photo: Star Tribune, Renee Jones Schneider

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

 

– With the Western Conference standings starting to squeeze more tightly around the slumping Wild, players believe a victory Sunday night over the Columbus Blue Jackets could lower the anxiety temperature a couple of degrees.

“We’ve just got to reset,” said Ryan Suter, the No. 1 defenseman on a team that has gone from winning seven games in a row to losing four of its past five. “Throughout the year, you go through things like this.

“What we’ve got to remember we’re in a good place right now. It’s good to have your destiny in your hands. And that’s how we feel. If we come out and play the way we’re capable of playing, the way we’ve seen we can play in the past, we’ll be just fine.”

Standing in Minnesota’s way will be a couple of familiar faces.

Marian Gaborik will make his home debut in a Blue Jackets sweater against the team he grew up with and still leads in virtually every offensive category. Todd Richards, who preceded Mike Yeo as Wild coach, has led a remarkable Blue Jackets turnaround since Scott Howson was fired as general manager.

The Blue Jackets, three points out of a playoff spot, have lost three times in regulation in the past 19 games and are 9-0-3 at home since Feb. 10. They are a hardworking, fast team, so the Wild, four points ahead of ninth place, knows it will have to match Columbus’ desperation.

“We just have to get back to focusing on the little things,” Yeo said. “Right now we’re making big mistakes. It’s a turnover, it’s a line change, it’s one thing after another.”

That was exemplified in Thursday’s loss at Los Angeles where all three goals came after offensive-zone turnovers. The last two goals were compounded by poor line changes.

The good news is on Saturday at Nationwide Arena, the Wild actually threw on its practice sweaters and took the ice for its first full practice in 14 days.

“It’s weird,” Yeo said. “Seriously, I’m having a tough time remembering the last time we had a practice, let alone a real practice, where we actually got to work on a couple parts of our game.”

After playing eight games in 13 nights incorporating tough travel, Yeo expects that the two non-game days between Thursday and Sunday should help refocus the mind and recoup the team’s tired legs.

“We should be back to full energy and that should no longer be an excuse for us,” he said.

The Wild will have to overcome another game without veterans Matt Cullen and Dany Heatley. The hope originally was that Cullen, who is so important to the Wild’s success, could meet the team in Columbus, but that was wishful thinking. He has missed the three-game road trip because of a lower-body injury.

Heatley wound up traveling with the team to Columbus for treatment, but he will miss his second game because of an upper-body injury that could keep him out for awhile.

Regardless, Zach Parise says the Wild can’t make excuses such as fatigue and injuries. It just needs to correct some glaring mistakes lately.

“It’s not from a lack of effort,” Parise said. “The effort’s been there. We’ve been making mental errors that we weren’t making before. We’re doing things that are costing us, and that’s a good thing. They’re correctable mistakes and we talked about the things we need to tighten up.”

The Wild is ready to look at these final 11 games as a postseason tuneup.

“We need to get into a playoff mentality where we can’t let those two games that we played [loses in San Jose and Los Angeles] drag into the Columbus game, because if we win [Sunday], we’ll feel good about ourselves and be in good shape,” Parise said.

Spirits were high Saturday, and frankly, as stressful as things have been over the three-game losing streak, the Wild still is in decent shape. Seven of the Wild’s final 11 games are against teams outside the top eight in the West, and there are two three-game homestands left.

“Let’s just go for it and get our swagger and confidence back,” Suter said.

  • related content

  • Gameday: Wild at Columbus

    Sunday April 7, 2013

    wild gameday5 P.M. at Columbus • FSN, 100.3-FMPreview: After back-to-back losses in San Jose and Los Angeles, the Wild, which...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Yankees - LP: M. Pineda 0 FINAL
Toronto - WP: D. Hutchison 2
Detroit - LP: M. Scherzer 3 FINAL
Chicago WSox - WP: C. Sale 6
Chicago Cubs - WP: F. Doubront 5 FINAL
St. Louis - LP: J. Masterson 1
Cincinnati - LP: A. Simon 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: V. Worley 3
Minnesota - LP: J. Burton 2 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: A. Miller 3
Philadelphia - WP: J. Williams 7 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: B. Colon 2
Miami - WP: J. Cosart 4 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: A. Harang 0
Boston - LP: A. Webster 0 FINAL
Tampa Bay - WP: J. Odorizzi 7
Cleveland - WP: J. Tomlin 3 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: S. Downs 2
Detroit - WP: K. Ryan 8 FINAL
Chicago WSox - LP: C. Bassitt 4
Texas - LP: P. Klein 0 FINAL
Houston - WP: S. Feldman 2
Colorado - WP: T. Matzek 2 FINAL
Arizona - LP: V. Nuno 0
Chicago Cubs - LP: T. Wada 2 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: M. Gonzales 13
Los Angeles - LP: J. Wright 1 FINAL
San Diego - WP: T. Stauffer 2
Milwaukee - LP: M. Fiers 1 FINAL
San Francisco - WP: J. Peavy 3
Oakland - LP: J. Samardzija 0 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: Y. Herrera 2
Washington - WP: S. Strasburg 3 FINAL
Seattle - LP: R. Elias 1
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
BYU 35 FINAL
Connecticut 10
(6) Jacksonville St 7 FINAL
(8) Michigan State 45
Bowling Green 31 FINAL
Western Ky 59
TX-San Antonio 27 FINAL
Houston 7
Colorado State 31 FINAL
Colorado 17
UNLV 13 FINAL
Arizona 58
Penn State 26 FINAL
UCF 24
Troy 10 FINAL
UAB 48
(7) UCLA 28 FINAL
Virginia 20
Western Mich 34 FINAL
Purdue 43
(5) Ohio State 34 FINAL
Navy 17
Appalachian St 14 FINAL
Michigan 52
Ga Southern 23 FINAL
NC State 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Massachusetts 7
West Virginia 23 FINAL
(2) Alabama 33
Rice 17 FINAL
(17) Notre Dame 48
(10) South Dakota St 18 FINAL
(24) Missouri 38
Fla Atlantic 7 FINAL
(22) Nebraska 55
California 31 FINAL
Northwestern 24
Marshall 42 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 27
UC Davis 0 FINAL
(11) Stanford 45
Arkansas 21 FINAL
(6) Auburn 45
(16) Clemson 21 FINAL
(12) Georgia 45
Liberty 29 FINAL
(23) North Carolina 56
Ohio U 17 FINAL
Kent State 14
Louisiana Tech 16 FINAL
(4) Oklahoma 48
Stephen F Austin 16 FINAL
(20) Kansas State 55
Fresno State 13 FINAL
(15) USC 52
Southern Miss 0 FINAL
Miss State 49
Texas-El Paso 31 FINAL
New Mexico 24
North Texas 7 FINAL
Texas 38
(1) Florida State 37 FINAL
Oklahoma State 31
(14) Wisconsin 24 FINAL
(13) LSU 28
Idaho 0 Postponed
Florida 0
South Dakota 13 FINAL
(3) Oregon 62
(25) Washington 17 FINAL
Hawaii 16
Utah State 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Army
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Toledo
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
(8) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(22) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(14) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tulsa
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(16) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
Temple
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Utah
(1) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
(25) Washington
(15) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(11) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Florida
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Tulane
(18) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Vanderbilt
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(8) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(19) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(6) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Troy
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(17) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(13) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(21) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(5) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(7) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Colorado 0 FINAL
Seattle 1
New England 3 FINAL
Toronto FC 0
Columbus 0 FINAL
Montreal 2
FC Dallas 0 FINAL
Chicago 1
Real Salt Lake 1 FINAL
San Jose 1
Portland 3 FINAL
Vancouver FC 0
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Chicago 70 FINAL
Indiana 77
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which local pro team are you most excited about?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close