Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Gone Missing

Photo: Jeff Wheeler/Star Tribune
Tonight is about as must win as it gets for the Minnesota Wild.

Minnesota enters tonight's Game Three matchup with the Chicago Blackhawks down 2-0 in the series, as it switches back to the Twin Cities. The Wild found themselves in a similar situation last year with Chicago. and the found their only victory of the postseason in that crucial Game Three.

Something that has been missing for the Wild in their first two games against Chicago, have been their star players Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu.

Through two games, the pair have combined for just one point (a Parise assist in Game One). If you combine these two games with the five Minnesota played Chicago last year in the playoffs, Parise has a combined two points and Koivu has zero. ZERO.

So far this postseason, Koivu has been one of the best possession players in the league. But that was mainly in part to playing a vastly inferior puck possession team in Colorado. The past two games have not been kind to Koivu, and he exactly hasn't helped himself either. But at some point, the Wild will need their captain to get on the board. He cannot afford to finish another series against Chicago with zero points.

The same can also be said for Parise. Coming into the series, he was the leading points scorer in the NHL, and is currently second in that department. His one point in this series already equals his total from last year's series. Its certainly not good for the Wild if Parise gets continued to get shut down. They need him to be slightly more productive.

Also struggling in this series, and in the postseason in general, have been Jason Pominville and Matt Moulson, who have combined for two goals in nine games.

Pominville was the team's leading goal scorer this season (30) and Moulson contributed 13 points in his 20 games with the Wild after coming over at the trade deadline. Again, both have a combined TWO goals.

When you are through two games in a series, and you say your best players have been your young players, something has gone wrong. You need your top players to perform when it matters most. The Wild have not received their best from their top players.

Should the Wild have any chance to comeback in this series, they need these players to return to form. If the team continues to try and get by with the third and fourth lines as the main source of offense, you better just pack it in and go home. The Blackhawks will just hammer the Wild into submission.

And that's putting it lightly.

Follow Giles on Twitter @gilesferrell

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