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.

The Wild should take notes. Or find someone capable of making those kinds of plays.

 

Chip Scoggins • ascoggins@startribune.com

  • related content

  • Video: Blackhawks eliminate Wild in Game 5

    Friday May 10, 2013

    Marian Hossa scored twice to power the Blackhawks to a 5-1 win over the Wild. Tomas Vokoun made 31...

  • 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

Minnesota 35 FINAL
Miami 37
Baltimore 13 FINAL
Houston 25
Detroit 20 FINAL
Chicago 14
Cleveland 13 FINAL
Carolina 17
Atlanta 30 FINAL
New Orleans 14
Green Bay 20 FINAL
Tampa Bay 3
Kansas City 12 FINAL
Pittsburgh 20
New England 17 FINAL
NY Jets 16
NY Giants 37 FINAL
St. Louis 27
Buffalo 24 FINAL
Oakland 26
Indianapolis 7 FINAL
Dallas 42
Seattle 35 FINAL
Arizona 6
Denver 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
New York 108 FINAL
Toronto 118
Memphis 91 FINAL
Cleveland 105
Boston 84 FINAL
Miami 100
Detroit 105 FINAL
Brooklyn 110
LA Lakers 101 FINAL
Sacramento 108
Philadelphia 96 FINAL
Orlando 88
Phoenix 104 FINAL
Washington 92
Indiana 100 FINAL
Minnesota 96
New Orleans 101 FINAL
Oklahoma City 99
Colorado 2 FINAL(SO)
Detroit 1
Dallas 6 FINAL(SO)
Edmonton 5
Buffalo 3 FINAL(OT)
Boston 4
Carolina 0 FINAL
NY Rangers 1
Toronto 0 FINAL
Chicago 4
Philadelphia 4 FINAL(OT)
Winnipeg 3
Harvard 27 FINAL
Virginia 76
Maine 69 FINAL
Army 72
Ferris State 82 FINAL
Bowling Green 68
San Francisco 65 FINAL
Cleveland State 69
Oregon State 52 FINAL
Quinnipiac 60
Coastal Carolina 72 FINAL
Central Arkansas 55
Holy Cross 48 FINAL
Canisius 67
Southern Miss 55 FINAL
Georgia State 68
Western Carolina 66 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 62
Creighton 58 FINAL
North Texas 62
Maryland 73 FINAL
Oklahoma State 64
Cornell 61 FINAL
Radford 74
Vermont 55 FINAL
Saint Louis 58
Loyola-Maryland 52 FINAL
Stony Brook 67
Reinhardt 72 FINAL
Winthrop 100
Ark-Little Rock 46 FINAL
Green Bay 66
TX-Pan American 72 FINAL
Nebraska Omaha 77
Alabama State 63 FINAL
Evansville 81
FIU 69 FINAL
Hartford 82
Goshen 55 FINAL
Valparaiso 82
Bryant 48 FINAL
Denver 46
Austin Peay 63 FINAL
Lipscomb 69
Tennessee St 47 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 65
South Dakota 67 FINAL
Montana 62
ULM 50 FINAL
Samford 64
Coker 52 FINAL
South Carolina 78
USC 75 FINAL
Boston College 71
Northern Ariz 66 FINAL
Hampton 75
SD Christian 61 FINAL
San Diego 71
UC Irvine 55 FINAL
Bradley 47
Troy 65 FINAL
Nicholls 64
Seton Hall 47 FINAL
Georgia 65
Appalachian St 59 FINAL
Alabama 60
North Dakota St 52 FINAL
Kent State 53
San Jose St 53 FINAL
Washington St 82
Alcorn State 45 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 78
Sacramento St 47 FINAL
Seattle 66
Nevada 3 FINAL
Louisiana 16
Utah State 21 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 6
(23) Utah 45 FINAL
Colorado State 10
Western Mich 24 FINAL
Air Force 38
South Alabama 28 FINAL
Bowling Green 33
BYU 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
UCF
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 3:00 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Cal-Irvine 55 FINAL
Denver 63
St Marys-CA 52 FINAL
George Washington 70
TX-San Antonio 49 FINAL
Nicholls 57
Portland State 71 FINAL
Columbia 66
Tenn Tech 62 FINAL
Morgan State 56
SMU 43 FINAL
Auburn 56
Quinnipiac 70 FINAL
Hartford 58
Hofstra 75 FINAL
Boston College 61
Eastern Washington 55 FINAL
Georgia Southern 42
Liberty 44 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 84
Fairleigh Dickinson 74 FINAL
Brown 79
Buffalo 73 FINAL
Long Island 79
Bucknell 74 FINAL
Mount St Marys 49
Stony Brook 70 FINAL
Wagner 76
FIU 83 FINAL
Wofford 75
Duquesne 56 FINAL
Providence 67
Maine 54 FINAL
William & Mary 51
Alabama State 43 FINAL
Samford 56
TX-Pan American 43 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 64
South Dakota St 64 FINAL
Marist 82
Saint Josephs 50 FINAL
(5) Notre Dame 64
Radford 60 FINAL
Virginia Tech 73
(3) Texas 67 FINAL
(4) Texas A&M 65
Rhode Island 60 FINAL
Bryant 56
South Florida 90 FINAL
Penn State 87
Sam Houston St 55 FINAL
TCU 79
Evansville 50 FINAL
IUPUI 62
(14) Maryland 110 FINAL
Coppin State 51
Mercer 59 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 72
NC A&T 43 FINAL
Chattanooga 58
Princeton 84 FINAL
Monmouth 53
Eastern Illinois 69 FINAL
Lehigh 72
Rider 67 FINAL
Binghamton 72
SC State 57 FINAL
Clemson 66
Fairfield 63 FINAL
Iowa State 76
Richmond 70 FINAL
Eastern Kentucky 56
Cleveland State 80 FINAL
Morehead St 72
Kent State 62 FINAL
Colgate 61
South Alabama 43 FINAL
UAB 73
Saint Peters 35 FINAL
Navy 71
Youngstown St 52 FINAL
Pittsburgh 78
NJIT 50 FINAL
Lafayette 66
Davidson 51 FINAL
Charlotte 86
Indiana State 73 FINAL
St Johns 67
Southern U 49 FINAL
Florida 78
Wright State 46 FINAL
Purdue 70
(19) Oklahoma St 66 FINAL
USC 62
Houston 54 FINAL
Texas Tech 60
Ark-Little Rock 66 FINAL
Tulsa 59
Dayton 71 FINAL
Vanderbilt 67
Northern Ariz 37 FINAL
New Mexico 56
UNC-Asheville 60 FINAL
USC Upstate 67
North Dakota 81 FINAL
South Dakota 86
Western Ill 57 FINAL
Marquette 65
Elon 67 FINAL
(6) North Carolina 85
Ball State 59 FINAL
Western Ky 84
(8) Kentucky 68 FINAL
(13) Duke 89
New Orleans 58 FINAL
Alabama 87
Chicago State 47 FINAL
Milwaukee 69
Bowling Green 61 FINAL
Bradley 47
Ill-Springfield 56 FINAL
SE Missouri St 73
Northern Ill 42 FINAL
Northern Iowa 51
(23) Iowa 100 FINAL
Drake 98
Central Michigan 64 FINAL
Minnesota 67
Western Carolina 45 FINAL
North Florida 62
Wyoming 71 FINAL
Colorado 76
Portland 58 FINAL
Boise State 94
Cal Poly 63 FINAL
Colorado State 65
No Dakota State 54 FINAL
Grand Canyon 69
Albany 71 FINAL
Cal State Fullerton 49
Oklahoma 64 FINAL
Arkansas 71
Idaho State 63 FINAL
Seattle 55
(18) Michigan State 89 FINAL
(19) Syracuse 76
Northwestern 75 FINAL
Arizona State 88
TX-Arlington 46 FINAL
North Texas 38
Fresno State 68 FINAL
Oregon 59
St Francis-PA 75 FINAL
Coastal Carolina 72
UNLV 71 FINAL
CS-Bakersfield 74
UCLA 50 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 86
(10) Louisville 70 FINAL
(24) California 57
Howard 53 FINAL
Virginia 74
Miami-Ohio 42 FINAL
(21) Miss State 68
Illinois-Chicago 55 FINAL
Old Dominion 61
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: Who is your favorite pro sports coach in the Twin Cities?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close