Newbies shown up as Wild loses 5-0 in Vancouver
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As the Minnesota Wild's losses have mounted and the season has wound to a quiet close, coach Todd Richards and players have refused to use the word "quit" to describe what's happening on the ice.
And in fairness, Thursday's 5-0 loss in Vancouver, to the league-leading Canucks may not have involved anyone quitting. It may have been more a case of a near-unstoppable force running into a team with nothing to play for, and lots of green talent looking to impress the brass with an eye on next season and beyond.
While his old school, Minnesota Duluth, was playing in St. Paul and earning a trip to the Frozen Four title game, Mason Raymond scored twice for the Canucks and former U.S. Olympian Ryan Kesler had a hat trick for the Canucks, who are focused laser-like on bringing the Stanley Cup to the Pacific Coast for the first time in their 40-year history. Roberto Luongo had 29 saves for Vancouver, which is led by veterans like twin brothers Henrik and Daniel Sedin.
By contrast, among the names seeing ice time for the Wild on this night were little-knowns like Jed Ortmeyer, Maxim Noreau, Carson McMillan and Justin Falk. Is it any wonder that versus a powerful lineup like Vancouver's, that group of newbies - along with a beat-up group of veterans staring headlong at the season's final two games - could do little in the way of offense, and nothing in the way of making a mark on the scoreboard.
Niklas Backstrom started in goal for the Wild, allowing all five goals. He was relieved by Jose Theodore in the third period. The clock continues to tick on this season of disappointment. The final road game is Friday night in Edmonton, and the final game is Sunday afternoon versus Dallas at the Xcel Energy Center.