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Wild go 0-4 on road trip with loss to Jets

Dec 27, 2013, 11:26 PM EDT

Winnipeg Jets' Evander Kane (9) scores on Minnesota Wild's goaltender Niklas Backstrom (32) during first-period NHL hockey game action in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Friday, Dec. 27, 2013. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, John Woods) AP

The Minnesota Wild need to find a way to airlift the Xcel Energy Center with them when they leave Minnesota, because lately it seems like nothing short of that will end their road woes.

The Wild ended their four-game road trip with a 6-4 loss against the Winnipeg Jets. It was the closest they came to a victory during their latest excursion.

Of course, they didn’t have goaltender Josh Harding for their stint away from home. He has been the Wild’s best player so far this season, but he had to take some time off while he changed his treatment protocol for Multiple Sclerosis. He’s off the injured reserve list now, so he should be available in the near future.

That being said, the Wild’s struggles can’t be summed up by the absence of Harding. They are 6-12-3 on the road this season, compared to 14-3-2 in Minnesota.

The good news is that they’re heading back home, so they don’t have to worry about breaking out of that slump in the short-term, but their failures have put more pressure on them to continue their torrid pace at home.

Or as defenseman Ryan Suter plainly put it to the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s Michael Russo, “We can’t win on the road, so we better play hard at home.”

  1. 950003cups - Dec 27, 2013 at 11:50 PM

    Backstroke sucks

    • helloname01 - Dec 28, 2013 at 12:01 AM

      ialto

    • helloname01 - Dec 28, 2013 at 12:01 AM

      ialto

    • cmmorgan32 - Dec 28, 2013 at 4:07 AM

      The people in front of Backstrom arguably suck more. As I stated in another post, there’s only so much a goalie can do (regardless of who it is) if the team can’t score worth a darn. Both Backstrom and Harding have kept Minnesota in games when they really shouldn’t have “been in” those games.

      The simple fact is the front office & coaching staff need to get things in order. If not, Yeo (and possibly Fletcher) could be gone sooner than they’d like.

  2. rebekah319 - Dec 28, 2013 at 12:02 AM

    That is some lame logic. Its comments like these that I shake my head at Wild fans. Wish you all would think before making dumb statements and realizing its a group that is losing right now not one guy!

    • helloname01 - Dec 28, 2013 at 12:03 AM

      They’ve lost 8 in a row when backstrom starts. But you’re right, the entire team looks like garbage lately

  3. greatmiamisportsmind - Dec 28, 2013 at 1:05 AM

    Maybe Fletcher needs to think long and hard on Backstrom’s new contract, and by thinking long and hard, I mean using that other amnesty buyout this summer. Unless of course he could move him for a bag of pucks at the deadline. Then again, is Darcy Kuemper any better than Backstrom?

    • cmmorgan32 - Dec 28, 2013 at 3:51 AM

      Minnesota can’t use a compliance buyout on Backstrom. Buyouts can only be used on contracts signed under the previous CBA.

      The fact of the matter is that goaltending became a problem (at least from a depth standpoint) for Minnesota the day Harding was diagnosed with MS and compounded further by Hackett being part of the Pominville trade (not knowing what the dealbreakers (if any) were with that trade). Maybe it’s just me, but it doesn’t seem like the Wild believe Kuemper or Gustafson are ready for serious NHL play anytime soon.

      With that being said, Minnesota’s slump (like it has been in the past) is a TEAM effort. There’s only so much that the goalie can do (regardless of who’s in net) if the team can’t score worth a darn and decides to play sloppy hockey.

  4. blomfeld - Dec 28, 2013 at 2:21 AM

    “FORM SQUARE” WILD FANS !

    When besieged by supposedly ‘superior & threatening’ enemy forces, my people in the past often employed this simple yet ‘brilliant’ tactic … and oddly enough, it seemed to have worked out well more often than not … so close rank friends, be at the ready and don’t waver ‘ever’ for even a second, eh ? :)

  5. kgod30 - Dec 28, 2013 at 7:40 AM

    It is always easy to point fingers and say that a coach or player should be gone.
    1) The reality is that this team is not playing well in front of Backy.
    2) Backy has not controlled rebounds like he did in the past.
    3) The team – for whatever reason does not protect Backy in his net – the guy gets mugged all the time – there is no way Wheeler gets the cheapy goal if the Wild are clearing out front – it is not that they cannot – it is just the way they have been told to play (or it appears that way).
    4) The Wild have not been able to get a balanced lineup and not playing the younger guys like Zucker, Bulma, and Dumba is frustrating – maybe they need more time to develop – but what is there is not working.
    5) Heatley contract – a disaster – and they are trying to get what they can out of him.
    6) Goalies – there is no option beyond Harding and Backy = they are handcuffed – Keumper may be a very good goalie, but it has never translated to confident play at the NHL level.
    7) Solution? I am not sure what works best – we are taking about people’s jobs – but we either have a lack of talent depth or we are not utilizing the talent well. One of these realities is more true and needs to be addressed.

  6. rebekah319 - Dec 28, 2013 at 9:50 AM

    I was not trying to be mean by my previous comment above but its like I could write a book on Wild fans ranting its so predictable its sad! I know the reason so do not remind me. Anyway glad people are realizing that the team in front of Backstrom do not play well in front of him at all! Its unacceptable to me to play in front of one goalie and not the other one. First the defense has to do its job. Second the offense needs to start scoring more goals than they have and also to actually shoot!!!!!!!!!!!! Wild dug themselves a hole here and its their choice to get themselves out. They do this to themselves so honestly as a huge wild fan here I do not feel bad. If they want to get out of this mess I suggest they actually start playing better hockey and playing for each other.

  7. greej1938l - Dec 28, 2013 at 10:41 AM

    Backstrom is awful, you can’t give up 4-5 goals a game and expect to win…you just can’t. I think Baccky is a problem that does need figured out. But I agree kuemper is worse and they certainly don’t trust Gustaffson

    • cmmorgan32 - Dec 28, 2013 at 2:06 PM

      You can’t win without scoring either. The Wild are ranked 29th in the league 2.18 goals per game. Buffalo is the only team that’s worse with 1.71 goals per game. Whoever Minnesota has in net could play a flawless game on any given night and it wouldn’t matter if the players in front of him can’t get pucks in the net. The game in Toronto is a perfect example. Despite out-shooting the Leafs 37-14, they managed to lose 4-1.

      While Backstrom has left a lot to be desired this season, he’s not the only (or biggest) problem Minnesota has. Unless they start scoring goals and play quality hockey on a regular basis, they’ll continue to go downhill.

  8. phillyphanatic77 - Dec 28, 2013 at 1:05 PM

    Wasn’t the Wild’s goaltending a strength the past few seasons with Backstrom, Harding Kuemper, and Hackett… what happened? I mean obviously Harding’s MS is a big factor but still Backstrom should atleast be serviceable, especially with his contract.

  9. porkchopexpress1969 - Dec 28, 2013 at 1:24 PM

    Fire Yeo. Horrible coach

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