Wild vs. Senators: A Battle of Unheralded Goaltenders
After being out shot by the Ottawa Senators 15-3 in the first period on Tuesday night, the Minnesota Wild evened things out a bit over the final two periods and wound up only being out shot 32-27 for the game. But they still could not muster anything substantial offensively on their way to being shut out at home for the first time this season, and the Senators scored two goals in the third period to put the game out of reach.
Ottawa goaltender Robin Lehner, who made his first start since Dec. 27 in place of starter Craig Anderson, had 27 saves for the second shutout of his career and was really hardly challenged all night long. Darcy Kuemper made another start in goal for Minnesota, making 29 saves, and he now has 91 saves on 95 shots over the last three games.
A few bad breaks plagued the Wild in the game, including a close possible offside call leading up to the Senators’ first period power play goal and defenseman Marco Scandella being left powerless to stop Erik Condra’s goal early in the third period after his stick shattered. But a lack of crisp offensive play hampered Minnesota throughout the game, and when they were able to get anything going Lehner was up to the task.
The Wild got offensive production from unexpected sources in winning five out of six games heading into Tuesday night, but to me the lackluster effort they offered against Ottawa shines a spotlight on Jason Pominville, who is Minnesota’s leading goal scorer (18) but has found the back of the net just once in the last 11 games. With Zach Parise (foot) and Mikko Koivu (ankle) out, the Wild need Pominville to turn things around soon and lead the offensive charge.
Brad Berreman is a Senior Writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.