After two goals in two games, it's still too early for Wild to panic
ST. PAUL — No. It's not time to push the panic button on the Wild.
That's the feeling in the locker room despite a dismal offensive performance that has produced just two goals in two games.
"We are 0-1-1," forward Jason Zucker said, downplaying the fact that the Wild offense has stalled out of the gates. "We aren't out of the playoffs or anything like that. We obviously have some things we need to work on. We just need to make sure we realize that we're a good team. We're going to be just fine."
Still, there have been some concerning trends, albeit a small sample size.
The problem isn't just a lack of scoring; it's a lack of any kind of offensive pressure.
In fact, according to Natural Stat Trick, a website that tracks various NHL analytics, the Wild have had just 29 scoring chances through two games, worst in the league for teams that have played at least two games.
To put that in perspective, the Chicago Blackhawks, who will be in town on Thursday, Oct. 11, have 79 scoring chances through three games.
"We need to create way more," said veteran forward Zach Parise, who has potted the only goal among Wild players on the front line. "Not nearly enough time in the offensive zone. Not a lot of creativity with the puck. It's not as if we've played two games and we're getting robbed where we should have six goals or seven goals. We need to generate a lot more chances."
Parise says most of the problems stem from sloppy play in the neutral zone.
"There's a lot of things that have to happen before a goal that we're not doing well enough," Parise said. "Our puck possession, which has been a strength of ours in the past, is not there. We aren't playing with a lot of pace.
"It is (a small sample size)," Parise added. "At the same time, it's too much of the same stuff for two games in a row. That's what we're really trying to emphasize in practice. We need to make smarter plays with the puck, and I think a lot of it has to do with supporting each other and talking a little bit more. That's going to help us a lot."
In an effort to create more offense, coach Bruce Boudreau changed up his top three lines earlier this week. Hopeful that will jolt some life into the group, he says he's willing to make more changes during Thursday's game if need be.
"It's hard to tell in practice," Boudreau said. "We'll see how it goes in the first period (against the Blackhawks). Who knows? I've been known to change them."
That said, at this point the Wild seem to agree that the offensive struggles have less to do with line combinations, and more to do with overall execution from everyone involved.
"It's about preparing properly and knowing where we are as a group," forward Eric Staal said. "We know we haven't been good enough for two games and we have to get better. I don't think that's anything that anyone is denying. As a group overall we need to get a little bit more on the attack and a little bit more aggressive."
"You never want to fall too far behind," Parise added. "It's only two games. That said, there are some things we definitely have to get better at and make the right adjustments in order to be able to score."