Wild’s Lack of Desperation Costs Them Their Season, Loss in Game 6

The Minnesota Wild will not be going to Game 7 after a disappointing loss to the St. Louis Blues that ended their tremendous 2021-22 season. They looked promising to start, but things slowly started to unravel throughout the first period and got worse when the Blues scored with just under five minutes left. It was 1-0 going into the second and things looked okay for the Wild, but that’s when it really fell apart.

The Blues scored three unanswered goals in the second period that exploited the Wild’s struggles. They were making blatant mistakes and looked like the team from Game 1. The problems continued into the third period but there was a change in the overall dynamic. The Wild had a lot more energy and seemed to finally find the mode of desperation they should’ve been playing with the entire game.

The Wild got on the board just over six minutes into the third, giving them the momentum they had been searching for all game. They had chance after chance but both Jordan Binnington and the post were not on their side. Sometimes luck has a lot to do with scoring goals and they couldn’t even get a little luck to go their way as they lost 5-1 after the Blues secured an empty-netter in the final minute.

Wild’s Lack of Effort

First and foremost, the reason for the Wild’s loss falls squarely on every single player on the team with the exception of a few who actually stepped up and fought for a win. Cam Talbot deserves zero blame for the loss. Granted, he may have let in a “soft” goal or two but he also had a team in front of him who gave him little to no support. In addition, he hadn’t played a game in over two weeks.

Cam Talbot Minnesota Wild
Cam Talbot, Minnesota Wild (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Nearly the entire team lacked effort, they weren’t rushing to pucks, took unnecessary penalties, and didn’t win important faceoffs. The list could go on and on of all their mistakes, but the worst was how sloppy they played. They practically threw pucks to the Blues and made passes that made no sense. The Blues outplayed them nearly the entire game and by the time they got some energy and played with a sense of urgency, it was too late to mount a comeback.

Wild’s Rough Special Teams

It had been a problem for the Wild all season long and the Blues exploited it even more so in the postseason, and that was their penalty kill. Every single game in this series, they let in a goal while shorthanded. Some of the credit has to go to the Blues for having a strong power play and pushing it in the Wild’s face, but their penalty killing could’ve been better.

Related: Wild on the Brink: 3 Things They Need to Extend the Series to Game 7

On the flip side of the penalty kill was the power play, but sadly the Wild couldn’t figure that out either. They had five chances with what should’ve been one of the most lethal power plays out there and they still couldn’t score. They did have a lot of opportunities but nothing went in. The single bright spot was a slight effort to draw penalties, though it wasn’t as good as a few games back.

Wild’s Dewar & Jost

Besides Kirill Kaprizov, the Wild’s younger players in Connor Dewar and Tyson Jost were two names that stepped up when needed. It was Dewar’s postseason debut and apart from not being able to find the back of the net, he had a very good outing. He was all over the puck, created chances, and played a strong overall game that should earn him a full-time look next season. He didn’t have much for stats, save for a takeaway.

Connor Dewar Minnesota Wild
Connor Dewar, Minnesota Wild (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

That leaves Jost who was playing in his fifth consecutive playoff game but his first for Minnesota, the other four were with the Colorado Avalanche. He showed promise with his speed and puck handling, despite not being able to score any goals. Thankfully, they have him locked up for next season as he’s proved that he will be a strong asset for them in the future and hopefully right away when next season starts.

Wild’s Future

Well, it didn’t end the way Wild fans wanted it to but they did show some promise in Games 2 and 3. They were expected to do better than they did but came up short mainly because of a lack of production from their team overall. Several players stepped up, but it was not enough to carry the team into the next round. It also wasn’t Talbot’s fault as his defense did him no favors.

Matt Boldy wasn’t as successful as everyone hoped he would be, but he did have a strong Game 6. Several times he was able to kick the puck out from between his skates and was very tough to get the puck away from. He wasn’t productive on the stat sheet, but the effort was there. While they didn’t get it done this year, they still have a solid core that’ll hopefully remain relatively intact going into next season.

Some names will have to move on, but that’s a topic for a different time. Regardless, this team had an outstanding year of setting records and playing some very entertaining hockey. They went all-in when they brought in Marc-André Fleury and showed they meant business. Unfortunately, they couldn’t clinch a spot in the second round, but now they’ll get to take a little break to enjoy the offseason and get prepared for 2022-23.

Morning Skate newsletter Click To Subscribe