The Minnesota Wild have lost three straight games by a combined 15-4 score to the lowest scoring team in the National Hockey League, the worst team in the Eastern Conference and the second best team in the league.
The most recent 6-0 loss to the Detroit Red Wings Friday at Joe Louis Arena was expected. But, the previous two losses were not, especially with the Wild fighting for their playoff lives.
Now, with the seventh and eighth spots in the Western Conference seven points and six teams away, the Wild (28-27-10) need to look at its future.
Kampfer, acquired on Monday from the Boston Bruins, had not played a game yet for the Houston Aeros, but should play in place of Kurtis Foster. Head coach Mike Yeo won’t admit he benched Foster, but the unrestricted free agent-to-be played only a couple shifts in the third period Friday. Kampfer will be the 44th player to wear a Wild sweater this season.
Rau will replace someone in the lineup, most likely either Cal Clutterbuck or Nick Palmieri, who both sustained upper body injuries during Friday’s loss. It is unknown if either can play. If both can’t it appears Erik Christensen would get back in the lineup.
Christensen does not look like he is a part of Wild’s future. He has been nonexistent, except for the one shootout goal he scored in a victory over the Florida Panthers on Feb. 23. Otherwise, he has no goals, no assists, a minus-11 rating, nine shots on goal and two penalty minutes in 12 games since being acquired from the New York Rangers.
McIntyre showed an ability to be a quality fourth line forward. Foucault and Fontaine are scorers that would give Fletcher and Yeo a better feel for their future in the NHL and with the Wild. Foucault has already made his NHL debut this season, but wasn’t really given a chance to show what he can do.
Debuts and inexperienced players should be the norm for the Wild the rest of the year. Guys like Christensen, Foster, Mike Lundin, Jed Ortmeyer, Warren Peters and Stephane Veilleux should play sparingly the rest of the year. All are veterans and all are unrestricted free agents this season.
Minnesota 0 0 0 – 0
Detroit 2 3 1 – 6
First Period – 1, Detroit, Filppula 20 (Zetterberg, Kronwall), :35. 2, Detroit, Smith 1 (Abdelkader, Cleary), 16:04. Penalties – Clutterbuck, Min (delay of game), 1:08; Johnson, Min (slashing), 6:56.
Second Period – 3, Detroit, Helm 8 (Franzen, Kronwall), 7:05. 4, Detroit, Filppula 21 (Zetterberg, Kronwall), 16:35. 5, Detroit, White 7 (unassisted), 17:42. Penalties – Hudler, Det (holding), 10:45.
Third Period – 6, Detroit, Zetterberg 15 (Filppula, White), 5:30. Penalties – Cullen, Min (cross checking), :36; Powe, Min (holding), 5:48; Heatley, Min (roughing), 8:39; Smith, Det (interference), 13:38; Kassian, Min, double minor (roughing), 17:42; Cleary, Det, double minor (roughing), 17:42.
Shots on goal – Minnesota 5-5-9 19. Detroit 13-12-10 35.
Goalies – Minnesota, Harding (23-29), Hackett (6-6). Detroit, Howard (19-19). A – 20,066. Referees – Tim Peel, Francois St. Laurent. Linesmen – Steve Barton, Mark Wheler.