Maybe the Minnesota Wild should practice more. It couldn’t hurt at this point.
While coach Dean Evason has opted to use rest as a weapon so far this season, it might be time to switch things up with the Wild stumbling out of the gates on a nightly basis.
It’s almost like it takes the Wild roughly 30 minute of play to wake up. That cost them once again in a 2-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night at Xcel Energy Center.
It was a sloppy start for the Wild as they struggled to do much of anything in the first period. If they were playing a good team, things might’ve snowballed in a hurry.
Luckily for the Wild, the Kings were equally as bad, unable to capitalize on countless scoring chances in front of goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen.
That lack of execution finally came back to bite the Wild in the second period, though, as the Kings took a 1-0 lead on a goal from Kurtis MacDermid. It was a bad sequence for the Wild as they turned a legit scoring chance into an odd-man rush the other way in no time flat. Victor Rask capped the blunder by reaching his stick at MacDermid instead of moving his feet.
At that point the Wild were still half asleep and the Kings couldn’t take advantage.
That set the stage for the third period where the Wild finally woke up with a goal from Joel Eriksson Ek to tie the game at 1-1. He has a team-high four goals this season, serving as a consistent force amid an up-and-down start to the season.
Even better for the Wild, the Kings challenged the call on the ice, lobbying for goaltender interference. They lost the challenge and the Wild ended up on the power play where fittingly they failed to take advantage.
A few minutes later Carl Grundstrom made the Wild pay, waltzing into the slot untouched, then ripping a wrist shot past Kahkonen to give the Kings a 2-1 lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
As frustrating as the loss was for the Wild, they have only themselves to blame after another slow start.