Greetings. Youngblood again.
I have to say I was surprised at how upbeat Wild coach Todd Richards and the players were after they had dropped their third straight game and fifth in six games.
Richards praised Havlat, said he liked what he saw of Marty Havlat and Pierre-Marc Bouchard playing together. He said the Koivu-Brunette-Miettinen line took a step forward.
Heck it was a night in which just about everybody was doing their best to find silver linings. I don't know. I have to admit i was surprised at how quickly Bouchard got up to speed. By the second period he was creating space, showing a quick first few strides. By the third period he was creating, setting up Havlat at one point in the third period for a point-blank chance from the slot.
Still, this Wild team just isn't finishing all those chances they kept talking about getting. And there is still that killer lull that pops up in just about every game lately. Wendesday it happened late in a scoreless first period when Brunette's turnover led to the first goal of the game in the final minute of the period.
The Coyotes' second goal came after winger Scottie Upshall was left alone entering the Wild zone. You just can't have 12 give-aways in a game (compared to the Coyotes' three) and expect to win a game.
That said, I think there is reason to think things could get better offensively with the arrival of Bouchard. He and Havlat figure to mesh very well, and I know they very much want to play together. That would allow Richards to have Patrick O'Sullivan play with Matt Cullen, who scored his first even-strength goal of the season off an O'Sullivan backhand in the third period. In theory that would give the Wild some offensive balance.
Some notes from the game:
--Mikko Koivu's third-period goal was his fifth of the season and his first in six games.
--Marek Zidlicky got an assist tonight, and he leads Wild defensemen with 13 points.
--O'Sullivan's assist gave him three points in five games since coming to the Wild.
That's about it. Have a good night.