Wait for Pominville and Moulson to end goal-scoring droughts continues
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CHICAGO -- The Wild was able to get past the Colorado Avalanche in the opening round of the playoffs with minimal goal-scoring contributions from Jason Pominville and Matt Moulson.
There were two ways to look at this.
The first was to take the positive approach. Sure, the two top-six forwards had combined for only two goals, including an empty-netter, but the Wild was still able to advance to the second round by getting contributions from other forwards.
The second, and perhaps more realistic view, was to acknowledge the Wild was fortunate to win a series without getting much offense from either player. If the two continued to struggle to put pucks in the net, the Wild likely would find itself in deep trouble in their second-round series against Chicago.
One game into that series, Pominville and Moulson remain in goal-scoring slumps and the Wild trail the Blackhawks 1-0 after losing 5-2 in the first game on Friday night at the United Center.
Pominville had only one shot on goal and added a team-high four more that missed the mark as the Wild had 18 missed shots. Moulson had three shots on Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford.
Pominville did get the second assist on defenseman Clayton Stoner's third-period goal and has five assists in eight playoff games. But on a team that lacks finishers, Pominville's main purpose is to score goals. He led the Wild with 30 in 82 games this season.
Moulson had six goals in 11 games with the Islanders before being traded to Buffalo. He had 11 goals in 44 games with the Sabres and scored six times in 20 games in finishing the regular season with the Wild.
The frustrating thing for Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher has to be the fact that he gave up assets to the Sabres at the trading deadline the past two years to acquire Pominville (in 2013) and Moulson (in 2014) for the specific purpose of adding firepower for times like this.
Pominville also was rewarded last October with a five-year, $28 million contract extension that will kick in starting next season. Moulson is doing himself no favors as he will be an unrestricted free agent after the playoffs.
Pominville, who missed the opening three games of the Wild's playoff series a year ago as he recovered from a concussion, attempted to downplay any frustration with his lack of scoring following Friday's loss.
"We're getting looks, getting opportunities," he said. "If you get opportunities you're going to find a way to get a bounce, and I think it's more about the way you play.
"If you keep getting those looks, you'll find a way to get one through. (The Blackhawks) are a good team at getting in lanes so sometimes the best play is to get it wide and hopefully get something around the net."
Safe to say, the Wild would rather see Pominville and Moulson start getting the puck in the net as soon as possible.