And The Frustrations Continue

 We played a frustrating game against the Canucks for our shooting players . Then the next night (and after travelling) we had the same frustrations with the Wild . We must figure out how to beat goalies a little more often than we have . I know that we won our last game but we still could have scored at least one more for insurance measures . To our credit , the lack of goals are usually due to the fact that the opposing goalies have been very good in their net . That is still no excuse for not scoring a little more .

 The first period against the Wild was terrible . Almost all of our players looked like they had just come in off a three-day bender . We took two successive penalties right from the opening faceoff . The Wild had pretty much free run of the rink for the entire period – even on the powerplay when Clutterbuck scored short-handed . Adding insult to injury , Koivu scored with about two minutes left in the period . The Wild owned the puck . They out-shot and basically out-played us . Alex Auld and Brad Richards seemed to be the only players who looked like they did not come out of the gates exhausted . 

 The second period started out with Auld making even more saves almost immediately . We did finally get a goal when Schultz scored on his own goaltender in a panicked play to clear the puck away from Loui Eriksson . Eriksson was awarded the goal (Nelson “ha-ha”) . Much later in the period Richards took a shot from the point and Eriksson was in the right position to deflect the puck in behind Backstrom . At the end of the period we got scrambling in our own zone and Grossman ended up scoring on Auld . While we did play better in this period than in the first , we still had many issues . We were out of position far too often . Our coverage broke down too often and we were turning over the puck as if we enjoyed it . The referees began making questionable calls and ignoring obvious penalties .

 The third period started with Lehtinen playing center on a four on thee powerplay against us . While we escaped this period without being scored on , we still could not manage to score again to tie the game even when Auld vacated his net with a minute or so left in the period . We did have some quality chances in this period but we never had good enough sustained pressure on Backstrom . 

 The refs did not do what I would call a good job in this game at all . Both teams had plenty of reasons to complain about the officiating . Elbows , interference , tripping and a few other penalties were allowed while other phantom calls were inforced . A perfect example of this was when Jamie Benn finished his hit on Havlat who then slashed him in retaliation . Then all the Wild players on the ice congregated around Benn pushing and shoving him . Somehow , Benn ended up in the box despite the fact that any number of Wild players could have gone to the box for roughing never mind Havlat slashing Benn in retaliation . The officiating has been suspect at best in far too many games this season  .

 We lost this game because of the fact that we did not start out the game at one-hundred percent . Almost every play looked exhausted and we paid for it . We cannot allow our opponents to run the tables on us for an entire period and try to play catch up for the rest of the game .

 We did try to play hard but we did not start out playing like that . No matter how tired and worn out we are , we have to do our best every single shift . Some of our players did play their best but not from the beginning .

 MY STARS of the game ;
 1.Alex Auld – Despite allowing three goals , he kept us in the game right from the start of the game . He made many great saves that could have made this game a total blowout . He even ended up mopping things up a few too many times .
 2. Loui Eriksson – He was one of the few players who played from the start despite being tired . He was in the right place at the right time and it showed on the scoreboard .
 3. Brad Richards – Nobody can argue the fact that he has been one of (if not the) best player(s) for us this season . He reads the ice very well and always seems to know where everybody is going to be and when . He has stepped up in to the role of being the best playmaker on our team since Ribeiro has slacked off .

 Honorable mentions;
 Jere Lehtinen , Brenden Morrow , Stephane Robidas and Karlis Skrastins all played their “A” games  . It is just a shame that they could not have contributed to the scoring more . I have faith that all four of those guys will be on the scoresheet for something good and soon .


~ by Adam on November 8, 2009.

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