If the saying is true that bounces even out over the course of a season, Thomas Vanek feels the Wild has a lot of bounces owed when the All-Star break ends.
Take Tuesday’s come-from-behind 5-4 shootout loss to Detroit. The Wild trailed 4-1 after two periods despite allowing only 13 shots and probably a half-dozen scoring chances.
“The point guy shoots it four feet wide, it hits something and goes in. We haven’t had many of those,” Vanek said after helping lead the Wild’s three-goal, third-period comeback with a beautiful goal off an individual effort.
“The saying is right, but it’s been 40-some games and it hasn’t evened out yet. The first 40 minutes, we played a solid road game against a very good team, gave up  shots and they had a couple good bounces. Like I’ve said before, we have to grind for every goal we get.”
Since the franchise’s 2000 inception, it sure feels as if the Wild has to work exhaustively hard for any goal it gets while they seem to come easier for opponents.
Ryan Carter, who has one goal in his past 28 games, said that was “the truth personally for me” Tuesday night. It started in the second period when Carter was unable to lift a puck in the crease with Red Wings goalie Petr Mrazek on his stomach.
“Right before Van scored, I had a couple open nets and it’s not going in,” Carter said. “I was like, ‘What’s going on here?’ I’ve got to bear down and bury one of those. It just seems like that’s the way it goes for this team.
“We’re working so hard and they’re not going in, we’re not getting the bounces. That’s why I was so happy when Van scored. I was face down on the ice. I was huffing and puffing and heard them celebrating. I was like, ‘Thank you,’ because that same shift I missed a couple open nets and was thinking, ‘This is going to be the worst shift of my life.’ ”
The Wild has registered 315 shots in the past nine games (35 per game). It has outshot its opponents in 36 of 46 (78.3 percent) games this season, ranks fourth in the NHL with 32 shots per game and gives up a league-low 26.8 shots.
Yet, it averages 2.74 goals per game (tied for 13th) and has scored three or fewer goals in 13 of the past 15 games.
On a set forecheck, Zach Parise scored the tying goal Tuesday after knocking down Jonathan Ericsson’s breakout attempt. He was not entirely sure how the puck went in, but, “it’s about time we get a decent bounce in our favor.”
However, Parise said the Wild has to do a better job getting to the net. Regardless of how the pucks went in, Detroit’s last three goals Tuesday came with Red Wings going to the net anytime their defensemen shot it.
“It’s something we can do a better job of,” Parise said.
Coach Mike Yeo loved the Wild’s battle level heading into the break. It went 2-1-1 in its final four games, and he wants to continue to see his team adopt more of a shooter’s mentality.
In the past two road games, Parise and Vanek have combined for 28 shots.
“For the most part of the year, I feel like I’m more of a setup guy,” said Vanek, who has nine goals and 20 assists in 46 games. “I feel like in that department I’m doing a good job. But I have to do more of what I did [Tuesday], sometimes not look to pass and be a little more selfish and finish myself.
“[Yeo’s] been saying it. Again, when I see a teammate in a better spot … I have to get over that a little bit. [Tuesday], I saw a good hole and I took it.”
Yeo said, “That’s what we need from him, and that’s what we need from our entire group. We do feel that we have some skill in the lineup, but we need that skill to be the working type of skill. We need that skill to be guys going to the net.
“We need guys shooting pucks, and he’s one of them. There’s a time and place to make a play and try to set somebody else up. But we have to have the mentality as a team to create off a shot.”