The Wild certainly had opportunities Saturday but couldn't convert any of them. Mikael Granlund said misfortune isn't the only reason behind that.
“Obviously, it may have something to do with luck, but at the same time, I don’t think we played our best game," Granlund said postgame. "I think we played one good game, we come in the next day and next game and not play that good. So we've got to be better, that’s the bottom line. ... Obviously, we need to score if we want to win, but all around, we can play better hockey.”
Both goalies were "out of this world," according to Wild coach Bruce Boudreau. The Wild's Devan Dubnyk stopped 33 of 34 shots while Chicago's Corey Crawford managed 24 saves in his second-consecutive shutout.
"I thought we've been playing pretty good on the power play, moving around pretty quick and making their guys move around and not making it easy on the PK, giving some different looks," Crawford said. "We're also trying to keep it simple, put the puck on net, go to the net. That was a big one for us, obviously, against a team that plays pretty solid D. Their goalie's playing good, too. Just one of those games where I felt like whoever was going to score first was going to get it. It's a good road win for us."
Chicago had been on a three-game power-play goal drought but now has ones in two-consecutive games. Meanwhile, the Wild hadn't had one in four games until Thursday's score, but again blanked Saturday in its two chances.
But coach Bruce Boudreau did say before the game he was pleased with the energy Nino Niederreiter brought back to the first unit, which was evident again Saturday, and expects Charlie Coyle to do the same on the other unit once he returns in a few weeks from a broken leg.
“Just getting on the power play with that other unit that he’s used to, it brought life to that power play,” Boudreau said of Niederreiter after morning skate Saturday. “Nino knows what [Granlund] or MIkko [Koivu] are going to do and vice-versa. It’s that familiarity that sometimes is really important.”
As for Coyle, Boudreau said the team misses him "a lot."
“Sometimes, you don’t realize how much you miss him until you don’t have him,” Boudreau said before the game. “A big-bodied guy that when he comes to play can be dominating at times. But at the same time, solid NHL player that is going to chip in between 15 and 25 goals, and he’s going to do some other stuff that goes right along with it. He kills penalties. He’s on the power play. He knows how to play. I think those players are so valuable.”
Well, Coyle certainly couldn't have hurt in Saturday's loss to the divisional rival.
The Wild is off Sunday before they fly to Boston, where the team begins a four-game road trip. I'll catch y'all ahead of the next home game Nov. 14 against Philadelphia.