Next Wild issue: Offense, anyone?
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Despite surrendering three goals on three consecutive shots at one point, Minnesota Wild goaltender Anton Khudobin can't claim that he wasn't given an opportunity to show what he's got on Sunday. Khudobin, who is essentially auditioning to be Niklas Backstrom's backup, now that Josh Harding might be gone for the season, stopped 24 of the Montreal Canadiens' 28 shots in a 4-3 loss, which dropped the Wild to 0-3-1 in the preseason.
Explosive offense has never been a hallmark of Wild hockey, with Jacques Lemaire preaching defense first, last and always, and Todd Richards directing a team not particularly deep in firepower. And just as in baseball's spring training and the NFL preseason, what you see on the ice in September is not a true indication of what you may see in October and beyond.
With all of that said, what happened - or more accurately, didn't happen - on Sunday night at the Bell Centre has got to raise some concerns about who will test the opposing goalies in the regular season. Montreal netminder Alex Auld needed to stop just 11 shots to get the win, as the Canadiens were out-shooting the Wild 12-1 at one point early. The Wild managed just one shot on goal in the second period.
The Wild opened the preseason with a Martin Havlat goal just 42 seconds into their first game versus the St. Louis Blues, then were shut out by the Blues for the next 119 minutes. So it would seem that once a decision is made about goaltending, finding sources of offense, or at least the line combinations to produce as much as they can with what they've got, would by the next assignment for Richards and his assistants.
The Wild have two more preseason games in the Western Hemisphere - a Tuesday night visit to the Columbus Blue Jackets and a Thursday night home game with Columbus - before embarking on their week-long trip to Finland.