Scoggins: Wild needs to find finishers to reach next level

  • Article by: CHIP SCOGGINS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 10, 2013 - 12:03 PM

The Wild lacks the natural scorers it needs to beat the elite.

– Jason Pominville fired a bad-angle shot that caromed off Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford onto the waiting stick of Mikko Koivu out front.

The maligned Wild captain had the right side of the net open. He had Crawford in a bind, an ideal scenario for Koivu to finally register a point in this series and give his team an early lead in a do-or-die Game 5.

He missed his mark. Badly.

Koivu ripped a clean shot squarely into Crawford’s blocker pads for a wasted chance that pretty much summed up the Wild’s hasty exit from the playoffs with a resounding 5-1 loss Thursday night at United Center.

The Wild played hard and had chances, but scoring goals trumps everything else and the Wild failed miserably at that.

“We had chances but at the end, that doesn’t matter,” Koivu said. “The difference is, you put the puck in the net or you don’t.”

An offseason that could bring significant changes inside the organization begins immediately and determining coach Mike Yeo’s future ranks at the top of list. Whatever ownership decides on that question, the team must identify ways to add some scoring pop to this grind-it-out lineup. Fixing that deficiency should be a primary objective this offseason.

The Wild managed only seven goals in five playoff games and was more than doubled up in goal production by the highly skilled Blackhawks. In fairness, Chicago allowed the fewest goals in the NHL this season and really knows how to tighten the screws defensively when needed.

But the Wild simply lacks enough firepower up-and-down its roster to be considered a legitimate threat in the playoffs. Team officials are kidding themselves if they believe otherwise.

“You’re not going to go very far here if you don’t put [shots] in when you get the opportunities,” Zach Parise said. “That was kind of the common theme for us throughout these losses. We just couldn’t bury the puck.”

The Blackhawks admittedly played below their capability the first four games and they still dispatched the Wild with relative ease. Why? Because the Wild struggles to score goals, which was more problematic in this series than its revolving door at goaltender.

Wild coaches and players love to talk about scoring chances, as if that’s some ultimate testament in evaluating a performance. Scoring chances are relevant, but they are a moot point if some don’t actually get past the goalie.

The Wild needs finishers more than guys who just create chances. Think about it. Other than Parise, who on this roster can be counted on as a reliable scorer? Dany Heatley is a sniper, but he finished the season injured and is not getting any younger. Devin Setoguchi looks like a natural goal scorer at times, but he also disappears for stretches. The Wild has some talented young players, but they’re unproven.

Every team talks about getting more scorers. Those guys aren’t easy to find. But what the Wild lacks is overall team speed and some muscle up front, guys who can score those dirty goals around the crease.

Yeo preaches defense and believes offense is generated from a sound, structured system. That’s all well and good, but this team could use a few closers, too.

The Wild finished last in the NHL in scoring two seasons ago. The team improved to 22nd this season, but it entered Thursday’s game with the lowest scoring average of all 16 teams in these playoffs.

In Game 4, the Wild attempted 68 shots without scoring goal, which still seems implausible. The Wild managed some good chances early in Game 5, too, but still trailed 1-0 at the intermission. The reason? The Hawks buried their best chance and Koivu missed his.

Late in the period, Chicago captain Jonathan Toews found Marian Hossa in the slot and the veteran rifled a shot past Josh Harding. The Blackhawks’ sequence looked so clinical. Pass, shot, goal.

  • related content

  • Chicago-Wild Game 5 recap

    Friday May 10, 2013

    STAR TRIBUNE’S Three Stars1. Marian Hossa, Chicago: The veteran forward scored two goals and set up another as the Blackhawks’...

  • Wild blown away in Chicago in decisive Game 5

    Friday May 10, 2013

    Chicago scored three times in the second period and coasted to victory, eliminating the Wild from the Stanley Cup playoffs. Torrey Mitchell scored Minnesota's only goal.

  • Minnesota Wild's Mikko Koivu (9) tries to control the puck as Chicago...

  • Cody Saleen After meeting Harding, the 7-year-old helped raise $300 in a Walk MS event for the MS Society.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Los Angeles - LP: B. Wilson 7 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Grimm 8
Detroit - WP: M. Scherzer 3 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: J. Shields 2
Philadelphia - WP: J. Williams 3 FINAL
Oakland - LP: D. Otero 0
Toronto - WP: M. Stroman 6 FINAL
NY Yankees - LP: C. Capuano 3
Arizona - LP: T. Cahill 1 FINAL
Colorado - WP: E. Butler 5
Boston - LP: R. De La Rosa 2 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: C. Tillman 7
Milwaukee 1 Bottom 9th Inning
Pittsburgh 0
Washington - WP: J. Zimmermann 3 FINAL
Miami - LP: J. Cosart 2
NY Mets - WP: J. Niese 4 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: M. Minor 2
Chicago WSox - LP: H. Noesi 1 FINAL
Tampa Bay - WP: C. Archer 3
Cleveland 7 Bottom 7th Inning
Minnesota 2
Seattle - LP: C. Young 1 FINAL
Houston - WP: D. Keuchel 10
Cincinnati - LP: M. Leake 4 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: J. Motte 8
San Francisco 0 Bottom 6th Inning
San Diego 3
Texas 0 Bottom 5th Inning
LA Angels 5
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 9/25/14 7:25 PM
Washington
Connecticut 14 FINAL
So Florida 17
Old Dominion 45 FINAL
Rice 42
Troy 0 FINAL
(13) Georgia 66
Georgia Tech 27 FINAL
Virginia Tech 24
Eastern Mich 14 FINAL
(11) Michigan State 73
Iowa 24 FINAL
Pittsburgh 20
Bowling Green 17 FINAL
(19) Wisconsin 68
Maryland 34 FINAL
Syracuse 20
Tulane 13 FINAL
Duke 47
Hawaii 12 FINAL
Colorado 21
Marshall 48 FINAL
Akron 17
North Carolina 41 FINAL
East Carolina 70
Army 21 FINAL
Wake Forest 24
Virginia 33 FINAL
(21) BYU 41
(6) Texas A&M 58 FINAL
SMU 6
Rutgers 31 FINAL
Navy 24
Central Mich 10 FINAL
Kansas 24
Utah 26 FINAL
Michigan 10
Florida 21 FINAL
(3) Alabama 42
Louisville 34 FINAL
FIU 3
Fla Atlantic 19 FINAL
Wyoming 20
Indiana 31 FINAL
(18) Missouri 27
San Jose St 7 FINAL
Minnesota 24
Texas State 35 FINAL
Illinois 42
Massachusetts 7 FINAL
Penn State 48
Georgia State 14 FINAL
Washington 45
Appalachian St 20 FINAL
Southern Miss 21
Northern Ill 14 FINAL
Arkansas 52
Middle Tennessee 17 FINAL
Memphis 36
Miami-Ohio 24 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Idaho 24 FINAL
Ohio U 36
Miss State 34 4th Qtr 1:55
(8) LSU 22
Utah State 14 1st OT
Arkansas State 14
Ball State 6 2nd Qtr 13:10
Toledo 20
(14) So Carolina 34 4th Qtr 10:23
Vanderbilt 24
(4) Oklahoma 38 3rd Qtr 1:00
West Virginia 27
Ga Southern 28 4th Qtr 1:29
South Alabama 6
UNLV 7 3rd Qtr 5:55
Houston 30
Miami-Florida 21 3rd Qtr 0:40
(24) Nebraska 31
New Mexico 24 3rd Qtr 1:48
New Mexico St 28
(22) Clemson 10 3rd Qtr 6:35
(1) Florida State 10
California 14 1st Qtr 7:08
Arizona 0
San Diego St 9:30 PM
Oregon State
(2) Oregon 9:36 PM
Washington St
Louisiana 9:40 PM
Boise State
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(25) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(12) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Middle Tennessee 9/26/14 7:00 PM
Old Dominion
Fresno State 9/26/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
(1) Florida State 9/27/14 2:00 AM
NC State
Duke 9/27/14 2:00 AM
Miami-Florida
North Carolina 9/27/14 2:00 AM
(22) Clemson
Texas-El Paso 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(20) Kansas State
Tennessee 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Vanderbilt 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Kentucky
Wyoming 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Northwestern 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
TCU 9/27/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Iowa 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Tulane 9/27/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
So Florida 9/27/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Colorado State 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Western Mich 9/27/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
Maryland 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Indiana
Akron 9/27/14 12:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/27/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Arkansas 9/27/14 2:30 PM
(6) Texas A&M
Kent State 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Virginia
Western Ky 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Minnesota 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Wake Forest 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Louisville
FIU 9/27/14 2:30 PM
UAB
Miami-Ohio 9/27/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Colorado 9/27/14 3:00 PM
California
Louisiana Tech 9/27/14 3:00 PM
(5) Auburn
Texas 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Kansas
Temple 9/27/14 3:00 PM
Connecticut
(16) Stanford 9/27/14 3:15 PM
Washington
TX-San Antonio 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
South Alabama 9/27/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
Cincinnati 9/27/14 5:00 PM
(23) Ohio State
Rice 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
(18) Missouri 9/27/14 6:00 PM
(14) So Carolina
Boise State 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Air Force
Central Mich 9/27/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
Troy 9/27/14 6:00 PM
ULM
New Mexico St 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(8) LSU
Memphis 9/27/14 6:30 PM
(10) Ole Miss
Texas State 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Washington St 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Utah
(9) Notre Dame 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Syracuse
(7) Baylor 9/27/14 7:00 PM
Iowa State
UNLV 9/27/14 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 9/27/14 8:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
Oregon State 9/27/14 9:30 PM
(17) USC
Nevada 9/27/14 9:30 PM
San Jose St
Vancouver FC 0 FINAL
Portland 3
Houston 0 FINAL
Philadelphia 0
New England 0 FINAL
Columbus 1
San Jose 0 FINAL
Montreal 2
Seattle 1 FINAL
Red Bull New York 4
D.C. 3 FINAL
Chicago 3
FC Dallas 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Toronto 40 FINAL
Brt Columbia 23
Edmonton 23 FINAL
Hamilton 25
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
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