Wild get only a Devin Setoguchi penalty shot goal, lose ugly in Colorado
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In the first period, the Colorado Avalanche scored early. In the second, they scored often.
Save for a penalty shot, the Minnesota Wild didn't score at all. And that's how losing streaks grow.
The Wild are now 0-3-1 since the trade deadline deals that revamped their defense, and have been out-scored by an embarrassing 15-1 margin, after their second six-goal loss in the last three games.
In all, 14 different Avalanche contributed to the offense in Colorado's 7-1 win.
With the playoffs further and further out of reach by the day, another draft looming, and many wondering how much young talent the Wild have in reserve in Houston, some fans on Twitter and elsewhere have encouraged general manager Chuck Fletcher to shut things down for the final month.
Let the key parts that are injured (Mikko Koivu, Niklas Backstrom, Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Guillaume Latendresse, etc.) get all the time they need to rest and recover. Play the kids, and test the young goaltending. If that results in a 15th-place finish (which is where at least one national publication picked the Wild to finish anyway), so be it. That just means the chance at a higher draft pick, right?
While Fletcher and his boss, owner Craig Leipold, will never declare that the team has packed it in while there are still tickets to be sold for 10 more home games, this is looking more and more like a team that has, in fact, called it a season.
The Wild had allowed a goal in the first three minutes of five consecutive games. They broke that streak, just barely, on Tuesday in Denver, when the Avalanche scored their first at the 3:05 mark.
And it was all downhill from there. In other words, if the Wild added to the team-record 44 different skaters that have donned a Minnesota sweater this season, they're looking like a team at the point where there's really nothing to lose.
Even down 2-0, the Wild were applying bursts of pressure, looking like they might just have a chance if they could pop a shot past Seymon Varlamov. Then the Avalanche scored three times in a span of less than two minutes, turning a two-goal deficit into a five-goal deficit.
• 169:44: The Wild's franchise-record scoreless streak, snapped by Setoguchi's penalty shot in the third period.
• 20:36: Team-leading time on the ice for defenseman Tom Gilbert, who has yet to record a point in his four games as a member of the Wild.
• 30: Penalty minutes for the Wild, who were whistled for two fighting major penalties, and a 10-minute misconduct.
• -4: Wild defenseman Steve Kampfer was on the ice for four of Colorado's seven goals.
Cal Clutterbuck caught the team plane to Colorado, but was scratched from the lineup due to illness. Defenseman Kurtis Foster played just over six minutes after he had back problems that limited his time on the ice. For the Avalanche, Steve Duchene looked to have suffered a serious ankle injury in the third period, leaving the game after getting tangled up with the Wild's Nick Palmieri going after a loose puck.
Avalanche - Jay McClement 10 (McLeod, O'Brien), 3:05
Avalanche - Jamie McGinn 15 (Mueller, Downie), 10:53, PPG
Avalanche - Jan Hejda 5 (Downie, Landeskog), 14:38
Avalanche - Mark Olver 3 (Stastny, Jones), 15:32
Avalanche - Ryan O'Reilly 17 (Landeskog, Downie), 16:34
Wild - Devin Setoguchi 17 (unassisted), 4:34, PS
Avalanche - David Jones 16 (McGinn), 13:09
Avalanche - Cody McLeod 5 (Wilson, Hejda), 18:37
Shots: Wild 9-8-5-22; Avalanche 11-15-13-39. Saves: Wild, Matt Hackett (17-21), Josh Harding (15-18); Avalanche, Semyon Varlamov (21-22). Power plays: Wild 0-for-2, Avalanche 1-4.
1. Gabriel Landeskog
2. Jamie McGinn
3. Steve Downie
It's supposed to be cloudy and in the 60s the next few days in Arizona - weather that seems perfectly fitting of the gloom that has overtaken the Wild since, well, since Dec. 10. On that night, the Wild won in Phoenix for their seventh in a row, and held the best record in the NHL. They've had the league's worst record since then, so maybe returning to the site of their last glory will do them some good. The Wild face the Coyotes on Thursday night.