The Minnesota Wild made one of the most-talked-about moves of the offseason, adding free agents Zach Parise and Ryan Suter to the team. So far, they have gotten some of the results they were hoping for, but their 4-4-1 record has them third in the Northwest Division and facing some questions after a pair of low-scoring losses.
The Wild started the season with a fairly respectable power play, led by Parise and Dany Heatley. Now, nine games into the season Heatley and Parise remain the only players to have converted on the power play, with two and three goals, respectively. Minnesota hasn’t scored with the man-advantage in their last four games, despite having nine chances. They lost two of those four games, and barely won the other two, managing just eight total goals. Their last two losses, a 3-1 decision to the Anaheim Ducks and a 2-1 defeat at the hands of the Phoenix Coyotes, were especially troubling as the team was outshot in both games and could have contended in either with just on power play goal.
Heatley, Parise and Mikko Koivu are off to great starts for the team, and Suter and Tom Gilbert have contributed from the back end. Secondary scoring continues to be spotty at best, and is placing more pressure on goaltender Niklas Backstrom. In seven appearances, Backstrom has a 2.44 GAA and a .915 save percentage, but only three wins. He has stopped at least 30 shots in each of the last three games, but has not received the offensive support he needs for the team to win games. Power play scoring may not be the only way to jump-start the offense, but it would certainly help get things back on track.