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Wild Open Homestand Vs. Pens

November 17, 2022, 8:26 PM ET [5 Comments]
Dan Wallace
Minnesota Wild Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Tonight the Wild open their 7-game homestang when they play host to the Penguins at the XCEL Energy Center.

It is no secret that the Wild have been challenged offesively this season after their strange start that saw them score 26 goals in their first seven games. They also let in 29 over that stretch as well en route to their 3-3-1 start.

Since then they have scored just 17 goals in the last nine games which includes two games where they scored four goals in wins over Montreal and Anaheim. So nine goals over those other seven games is very alarming to say the least.

We knew that others would have to step up to replace the production of Kevin Fiala, but to have absolutely no one even remotely close is mind boggling.

Last season saw the Wild have so many career seasons from the forward group that a natural regression was bound to take place. Injuries to Jordan Greenway and Ryan Hartman have not helped the situation by any stretch but the issue runs deeper than that.

The bargain basement bin for attracting talent over the past few seasons to address offensive needs has been mostly miss on the hit/miss scale.

We saw Marcus Johansson, Nick Bjugstad, Nick Bonino, Victor Rask, Ryan Donato, Freddy Gaudreau, Rem Pitlick,Tyson Jost, and Sam Steel all brought in in hopes of catching lightning in a bottle with a few of these players.

Only Gaudreau has panned out to this point and most of the others were sent on their way elsewhere.

We know that the Wild have a very deep system now and we all know about the cap situation, however there has to be some point where push comes to shove.

That time is fast approaching for the Wild if they are going to remain in the thick of the playoff race. They have been spared some time as many of their fellow pre-season favorites in the Central also struggled out of the gate, but that tide is turning and the Wild have to do something to keep up.

Pittsburgh has had their own issues after opening the season 4-0-1, they dropped the next seven. They won two straight on the road at Washington and Toronoto before losing in OT in Montreal and then dropping their last game at home against the Leafs by a count of 5-2 on Tuesday night.

The Pens still possess a potent offense led by Sidney Crosby. Jake Guentzel, Evgeni Malkin, and former Wild winger, Jason Zucker who has 14 points in 14 games.

Minnesota will have their hands full despite the fact that the next seven are at home as they face Carolina, Winnipeg, Toronto, and Edmonton with Arizona and Anaheim rounding out the homestand.

Filip Gustavsson will have his hands full facing many of the NHL's elite scorers, Marc-Andre Fleury out of action. Zane McIntyre has been recalled from Iowa to serve as Gustavsson's backup.

Gustavsson will be facing the team that drafted him in the second round (#55 overall) back in 2016. He never suited up for the Pens as they dealt him to Ottawa in 2018 at the trade deadline. This is a big opportunity for Gustavsson to establish himself and to be honest he really needs to do that in order for the Wild to be able to compete.

It's always Hockey Day in The State of Hockey!
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