As the Wild worked Tuesday to solve its offensive woes, Zach Parise approached the problem with a wide lens. In order to score more, the winger said, players must lay the groundwork throughout the entire offensive sequence, rather than thinking only about the end result.
That was the theme of Tuesday’s practice at TRIA Rink, on the third day of a four-day lull in the schedule. While the Wild’s sluggishness has been blamed for an 0-1-1 start to the season, Parise pointed out some more specific flaws that have limited the Wild to two goals in two games. He said the forecheck is spread too widely; players have not been in sync when coming up the ice; and the team has lacked creativity with the puck during too little time in the offensive zone.
The Wild was outshot 82-51 in a loss at Colorado and shootout loss to Las Vegas. Beginning with Thursday’s game against Chicago at Xcel Energy Center, Parise said the team must generate “way more” chances if it hopes to score more goals, and tending to those start-to-finish details should help.
“There are a lot of things that have to happen before a goal that we’re clearly not doing well enough,” said Parise, who scored the Wild’s first goal of the season in a 4-1 defeat at Colorado. “These things are very fixable, but we have to pay a little more attention to them.
“We’ve got to be smarter out there. It’s not as if guys are dogging it. Guys are working hard. But sometimes, we’re not working together. Once we do that a little better, we’ll be able to get up the ice cleaner and smoother, and move the puck better.”
Improved communication and puck support also will help the Wild crank up their speed, Parise said.
Wild coach Bruce Boudreau kept together the new lines he unveiled at Monday’s practice, and they will stay intact for at least the first part of Thursday’s game.
Nino Niederreiter has been moved to left wing on the third line with Jordan Greenway and Charlie Coyle. Joel Eriksson Ek, who had held that spot, is now on the first line with Eric Staal and Jason Zucker, and Mikael Granlund has moved to right wing with Mikko Koivu and Parise.
The coach, a renowned line shuffler, left open the possibility of further experimentation — and hinted his patience might not last longer than 20 minutes.
“We’ll see how they go in the first period,” Boudreau said. “Then, who knows? I’ve been known to change.”
• Zucker said he is looking forward to having Eriksson Ek on the top line. “He’s a big guy, and he can skate,” Zucker said. “We’re hoping to unlock some of the offensive talent that he has. We’re excited to play with him.”
• After devoting Monday’s practice to defense and Tuesday’s to offense, the Wild plans to work on special teams Wednesday. The team has yet to score with the man advantage on five chances.