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Wild Look to Build Off 1st Win

October 15, 2019, 10:05 AM ET [1 Comments]
Dan Wallace
Minnesota Wild Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
A few season firsts yesterday as the Wild finally got into the win column.

In the process Wild goaltender Alex Stalock made his first start and recorded the team's first shutout of the season, while Victor Rask scored his first goal in just his second game after being a healthy scratch through the first three contests.

Tonight the opponent may be a bit tougher though as the boys travel to Toronto to face the Leafs. Tonight marks the first time this season that the Wild will play on consecutive days and coming off their first win should at the very least give them more confidence as they look to rebound from the 0 and 4 start.

There is a lot of talk about the back to backs in the NHL and how the team that played the night or day before as in this case for the Wild, is operating at a disadvantage. I am not always of that belief and sometimes there is an advantage to the team that played the previous date. It is all circumstantial of course combined with how well the team playing the second game is prepared.

That leads us to tonight and how well Boudreau's boys are prepared to handle a Maple Leaf squad that is anxious to prove they are a dominant force in the NHL and especially on home ice where they have won just one of four this season.

Mats Zuccarello did not make the trip due to a lower body injury. Gerry Mayhew was recalled from Iowa on Sunday and may make his NHL debut tonight in Toronto or Thursday in Montreal.

Boudreau made the comments after yesterday's game that he felt the team that was able to break through with the first goal would make it stand up. He stated that he did not feel the Wild had it in them for 6-5 games however if they can get into more 2-1 and 3-1 games and win the majority of those they can be competitive.

That all sounds great and especially following a game against another offensively challenged team like the Senators.

The problem with that theory is that the Wild forwards are not fast enough as a group to compete with the speed of the NHL's elite teams. They take far too many penalties giving their opponents numerous opportunities to take and increase the lead before the Wild can scratch and claw out a single goal of their own.

Until the team figures out how to compete for the space in front of the opposition's net they will continue to struggle for goals. Counting shots is only one metric in the offense and as we have seen over the last several years it is not the number of Wild shots that matters it is the quality of the chances.

Tonight will be a very difficult test for the Wild and if Boudreau really believes his team is capable of playing those low scoring games against faster more talented opponents he will get an up close and personal view with the Leafs.

It is always Hockey Day in The State of Hockey!
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