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Mikko Koivu’s return will fix the Wild tailspin… Right?

Dec 26, 2011, 11:50 AM EDT

Mikko Koivu, Dany Heatley AP

Who knew that losing a team captain would be so destructive?

Wild coach Mike Yeo says he expects Mikko Koivu will play tonight after missing four games as the Wild take on the Avalanche. At the very least the team’s leading point scorer should help them out in one-goal games. During the Wild’s current six game losing streak, they’ve had three 2-1 losses, one courtesy of the shootout. They’ve also had four games where they scored just one goal.

After winning seven in a row and streaking out to be the NHL’s top team for a spell, the Wild have come back to earth and are now just one point ahead of red hot Vancouver for first in the Northwest Division. That’s a startling fall from grace and one that should have the Wild worried.

Koivu’s presence on the ice is needed to get the team out of its tailspin and to try and prove to many that it’s worthy of the praise it’s gotten this season. If Koivu can’t help them at least generate another goal or two, the Wild could wind up joining last season’s Stars, Thrashers, and Avalanche as teams that started out on fire only to crash and burn miserably out of the playoffs.

  1. danphipps01 - Dec 26, 2011 at 12:11 PM

    I don’t think anyone should be too shocked. They’ll likely finish as one of the lower seeds. They’ve got great defense, great goaltending, but they’re a lot like the Preds have been in recent years – fantastic defensively, but lacking scoring. The Preds have worked on changing that and started producing good scoring, though it’s still a work in progress – but the Wild are a few steps behind them yet, I believe. They wanted Heatley to be the difference-maker, and they’re certainly getting more out of him than San Jose’s getting out of Havlat, but it’s been a fair while since Heatley was a star goal-scorer. Once they make a few more adjustments, though? Expect them to be able to continue a high pace throughout the season. Not this year… but soon.

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