One more time. The second game in a two game mini-series against the Los Angeles Kings comes to a close tonight. The Minnesota Wild will look to bounce back from a disappointing loss to the Kings at the Xcel Energy Center Tuesday night. But can they?
After a less-than full team effort, the Wild fell 2-1 with another slow start to the game. It’s a theme that’s turning into a bit of a trend for this team. They are currently 18th in the NHL with only 5 goals in the opening frame and should look for some of the under-preforming wings to break the dry spell.
Joel Eriksson Ek, of the dominant Foligno-JEE-Greenway line, was the only player to dent the twine Tuesday, and he’s starting to look like he’s putting it all together.
Before they hit the ice tomorrow night, head coach Dean Evason is going to do some experimenting and will go with a “different look” against the Kings, to try and find something that works with this roster.
The Kings will look to build on their momentum, having now collected back-to-back wins against the Wild and the St. Louis Blues. After Cal Peterson started last game for them, expect to see
franchise goalie Jonathan Quick. With Talbot still out and Kähkkönen preforming very well, expect the Finn to draw back in.
With Eriksson Ek being the only Wild player to score on Tuesday, most of the Wild have yet to make a significant scoring impact at even strength. If your name isn’t Parise or Eriksson Ek, you’ve scored one or less even-strength goals all year. With much of the players seeing some time in the top-six, the third line of Foligno - JEE - Greenway has remained largely untouched. Unless the the Wild come out swinging in the first, will Evason consider messing with success to try and spark something?
Even if he goes with something different—as he mentioned yesterday—the third line could still be untouched as he tries to find chemistry and not disrupt something that is working.
2. Will Kaapo Kähkönen be able to handle the increase in workload?
With the continuing absence of Cam Talbot, it’s time to call on the young Finn once again. If he does start tonight, Kähkönen will have played 5 games in 8 days. While he was solid again Tuesday, it wouldn’t surprise me to see the fatigue set in.
3. Can we get 60 minutes of domination?
It would be old hack to wonder about the powerplay. I want to know if the Wild can come out and beat up on the clearly inferior team for the entirety of the game. With the largely healthy, this roster isn’t likely to look much better than this. They need to come out and show they are even better than they’ve already been.
Puck drop is at 7:00 p.m. Thundercats are go.