Wild waste late power play opportunities as offensive struggles continue
In the five games over the last 10 days, the Wild has earned just two points while going 0-3-2.
Tuesday, the Wild got two power play opportunities in the final three minutes of a 2-1 loss to the Calgary Flames, but failed to score and extended its losing streak to five.
Both late power play opportunities were drawn by Dany Heatley, who has yet to be a factor without his previous linemates not playing due to injuries. The first power play came with two minutes and 32 seconds remaining when Olli Jokinen hauled down Heatley on his way to the net. The second came with just over 10 seconds remaining when Jokinen slashed the stick of Heatley in the slot negating a scoring chance.
Neither man-advantage produced a really good scoring chance. The second didn’t even garner any offensive zone time.
The biggest difference is a lack of sustained offensive zone time.
There have been way too many dump-in rushes that immediately get turned around back into the Wild’s defensive zone.
Part of the problem with getting offensive zone time is the lack of puck possession time. The Wild have been chipping the puck off the boards to get it out of the defensive end. When that happens the opposing defensemen get the back to a forward and the Wild are playing defense again.
After allowing the first goal for the 22nd time this season, tied with the Flames for the most in the NHL, Pierre-Marc Bouchard quickly tied the game by banging a rebound past Miikka Kiprusoff six minutes and 10 seconds into the game. Jared Spurgeon took a sharp-angle shot that Kiprusoff couldn’t handle to get an assist. Matt Cullen also assisted on the goal.
Josh Harding played for the first time since sustaining an upper body injury exactly two weeks ago in San Jose.
The Wild’s current losing streak is its longest of the season. The previous long was two.
No. 3 – Curtis Glencross. The Flames forward scored a goal.
No. 2 – Miikka Kiprusoff. The Flames goaltender stopped 29 shots.
No. 1 – Jarome Iginla. The Flames forward had a goal and an assist.
Minnesota 1 0 0 – 1
Calgary 1 1 0 – 2
First Period – 1, Calgary, Glencross 11 (Iginla, Butler), 2:47. 2, Minnesota, Bouchard 6 (Spurgeon, Cullen), 6:10. Penalties – Staubitz, Min, major (fighting), 15:24; Jackman, Cgy, major (fighting), 15:24; Palmer, Min (hooking), 17:57.
Second Period – 3, Calgary, Iginla 13 (Smith, Jokinen), 6:02. Penalties – Stoner, Min, major (fighting), 2:33; Kostopoulos, Cgy, major (fighting), 2:33; Zidlicky, Min (slashing), 3:54.
Third Period – None. Penalties – Sarich, Cgy (elbowing), 6:22; Jokinen, Cgy (Interference), 17:28; Jokinen, Cgy (slashing), 19:49.
Shots on goal – Minnesota 13-6-11 30. Calgary 11-13-6 30.
Goalies – Minnesota, Harding (28-30). Calgary, Kiprusoff (29-30). A – 19,289. Referees – Mike Hasenfratz, Dan O’Halloran. Linesmen – Dan Schachte, Lonnie Cameron.