Scoggins: Balance, tenacity shift momentum for Wild

  • Article by: CHIP SCOGGINS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 26, 2014 - 1:04 AM
hide

Minnesota Wild head coach Mike Yeo

Photo: Carlos Gonzales,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

If he owned a magic wand, Mike Yeo probably would wave it over his players in the locker room before Game 5 and command that they display the same energy and defensive intensity that they exerted in drawing even in their playoff series.

The Wild could do no wrong in Games 3 and 4. The team outshot the Colorado Avalanche 78-34 and allowed only one goal in those two games. Yeo’s players killed penalties with gusto, blocked shots with bravado. They played defense tighter than a straitjacket, which made the young Avs so jittery with the puck that they looked as if they were handling a hand grenade.

The eye test revealed far more about both teams than ever could be discerned by merely scanning the final scores — 1-0 in overtime and 2-1. Those games could not have been more one-sided and would have reflected that reality without some herculean goaltending by Colorado’s Semyon Varlamov.

And so the question now becomes: How does the Wild bottle that up and transport it to Denver? How does it avoid losing what it created somewhere in the Rocky Mountains?

“It shouldn’t matter who we’re playing or where we’re playing,” Yeo said. “We still should be able to bring that in-your-face style.”

Without question, the Wild has been the better team through four games and should be in control of the series if not for a couple of brain cramps in Game 1. What’s done is done though, and the Wild, in an odd way, should feel encouraged about something else related to this series doing an about-face.

Zach Parise has not scored a goal. Neither has Jason Pominville. Nor Mikko Koivu. Nor Matt Moulson.

That group combined for 93 goals this season. So far in this series, a goose egg.

Normally, that would be cause for alarm and put the team’s leaders in the cross hairs. Imagine the narrative if the Wild trailed in the series, or if those players weren’t doing so many other good things, particularly Parise and Koivu.

In this case, a lack of scoring goals shouldn’t be misconstrued as a lack of overall contribution. This is nothing like last postseason when the Wild’s stars fizzled against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Parise leads the Wild in points (five) and shots (19) in this series and has set a positive tone with his energy and hustle. Koivu has collected three assists and been exceptional on faceoffs, winning 64 percent of his draws.

The Wild needs to get more from Pominville (two assists) and Moulson (no points). Pominville led the team with 30 goals this season and Moulson has a track record as a scorer.

“Those guys haven’t gotten the goals, but they’ve created goals [for others],” Yeo said.

That foursome has combined for 51 shots in the series so they’re creating scoring chances. Good chances. Finishing those chances ultimately is what matters, but the Wild has the right plan. Just keep pressuring and throwing pucks at Varlamov and eventually the law of averages should take over, right?

“He’s obviously playing great,” said Charlie Coyle, who leads the Wild with three goals. “We just have to keep at him.”

It might be unreasonable to expect the Avs to keep stumbling around on offense like hikers lost in the wilderness. A team with that much speed and skill generating only 12 shots in a game is rather absurd. Eventually, they probably will start to click again, which means the Wild might need to create more offense itself.

The mark of a good team lies in its depth, and the Wild is certainly in a far better place now than last season. The team has made this a best-of-three series because of its suffocating defense and secondary scoring.

Nobody seems concerned that the big guns haven’t scored yet because they’re contributing in other important ways. And the team is playing its best hockey right now.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Oakland 7 Top 12th Inning
Kansas City 7
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Denver
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington
NY Islanders 5 FINAL
Boston 3
NY Rangers 2 FINAL
Philadelphia 4
Ottawa 1 FINAL
Winnipeg 2
Carolina 1 FINAL
St. Louis 3
Tampa Bay 5 FINAL
Dallas 1
Colorado 0 FINAL
Calgary 2
Los Angeles 3 3rd Prd 17:49
San Jose 1
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
FIU
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Syracuse
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Army
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Maryland
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Indiana
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Texas
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Clemson
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Colorado
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rutgers
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rice
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Kentucky
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Virginia
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
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