Well the Wild offense seems to finally be figuring things out and not a moment too soon. They've scored 4 or more goals now in 5 of their last 9 with again a new season high of 6 goals yesterday afternoon against the Avalanche. They'll need to keep turning up the offensive heat in the coming weeks as the schedule starts to get a lot deeper against teams that are categorized as above average to bona fide contenders.
Scoring is coming from all over the Wild line up and they seem to continue spreading the wealth between all 4 lines. Unfortunately the defense seems to be regressing a bit as they and Backstrom have allowed 7 goals in their last 2 games and 26 in their last 9 games.
Several of those 26 goals have been odd or fluke type goals scored on Niklas Backstrom. While looking very impressive over his last several appearances, he's also looked very shaky and awkward at times as well. Some goals scored on him that are very non-characteristic of the type of play we've come to know from Backs.
Pierre Marc Bouchard was given the green light in yesterdays game even in light of the fact that Jason Zucker was cleared to play. That move seemed to pay off for coach Mike Yeo as Bouchard scored the game winner and added an assist in only his second game back after becoming a regular scratch over the previous 5 games.
Hopefully PMB still has a place on this team in the future as he has been a long time fan favorite of Wild patrons and seemingly still has what it takes to help propel the Wild into becoming a contending team.
Still waiting to see when new comer Brett Clark will get a crack at breaking into the Wild defensive line up. IMO, it can't come soon enough with the way Gilbert and Falk have been performing over the last several games. For obvious reasons Falk is clearly the odd man out here as he looks to be the most expendable. The Wild have too much money invested in Gilbert to start pulling him from the line up at this point and maybe it's just me, but he has been god awful over the last month and maybe needs to view a few games from the press box to maybe get a new perspective on how this game is played.
He continues to turn the puck over time and again, as well as contributes many times per game to trapping the Wild inside their own zone, especially while on the PP. I had hoped Gilbert would turn the corner this season coming off a very short stint of under performing at the end of last season after the Wild traded away their longest tenured player and locker room leader in Nick Schultz. But Gilbert's play has been streaky at best so far this season.
Being a Minnesota native I hate to write the guy off only 2 partial seasons into his Wild career, but he hasn't shown much reason to hang on to hope at this point.