The Minnesota Wild have had a decent start to the season and find themselves at 5-3-0 after eight games. The Wild have played well as a defensive unit and have given up the least amount of goals in the league, but there’s one thing that been puzzling with the offense: What’s wrong with Minnesota’s power play?
The Wild are one of just two teams in the NHL that have yet to score a single power play goal. Minnesota is among the bottom of the barrel when it comes to power play opportunities, but the team has still managed to start the season 0-for-26 with a man advantage.
Luckily for the Wild, they play very strong defense and very solid five-on-five hockey overall. Minnesota leads the league in five-on-five goals, but that won’t make up for a non-existent power play forever. The Wild need to finally convert on a power play and build some confidence in that attack. They at least need to start putting more pressure on with a man advantage, even when they don’t score.
Minnesota had plenty of chances to break the scoreless streak on the power play earlier this week against the New York Rangers. Two New York players were ejected for illegal hits and got two five-minute major penalties as a result. Even with two different shots at a five-minute man advantage, the Wild came up empty.
The most surprising part about the power play woes is that Minnesota has some great power play players on their team. The Wild have defenseman Ryan Suter who is good at running the point, rarely makes mistakes and makes quick decisions. The Wild also have Zach Parise and Thomas Vanek, two guys who specialize in getting in front of the net on the power play. Although Vanek and Parise were on different teams last season, the two combined to score 22 power play goals, but it’s been a struggle to say the least this time around.
The Wild are a good enough team that they can win games without a power play goal as they have proven five times this season, but how long will that last? Sooner or later in the grand scheme of a Stanley Cup run, you must be able to convert on the power play. The playoffs become especially harder when special teams aren’t successful, and the Wild need to improve this part of their game as they try and build on last season’s trip to the Conference semifinals.
Parise and Vanek need to keep at it in front of the net. The two know where to go in order to score goals and are also very skilled at deflecting the puck in front of the net. It seems hard to believe that a team with so much speed and talent could have this much trouble getting their first power play goal, but hockey can be a streaky game. Minnesota has to be happy to have a winning record, but they need to fix this fast and start scoring some power play goals.