NHL Hockey

4
Final 1 2 3 Tot
Ottawa 0 1 3 4
Minnesota 2 2 2 6
6
5:00 PM PT6:00 PM MT7:00 PM CT8:00 PM ET1:00 GMT9:00 6:00 PM MST8:00 PM EST5:00 UAE (+1)20:00 ET23:00 BRT, November 21, 2018
Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul, Minnesota  Attendance: 19,035

Wild aim to ignite sputtering offense vs. Senators

Ottawa Senators at Minnesota Wild

  1. The Senators currently are tied for the NHL lead in goals scored (75, tied with Tampa Bay) and lead the NHL outright in goals allowed (88). The last team to do both over the course of a season was the 1947-48 Chicago Black Hawks (scored 195, but gave up 225 in 60 games and finished in last place).
  2. Mikkel Boedker needs one point for 300 in his career. Boedker is set to become the second Danish-born NHL player to get to 300 points (Frans Nielsen, currently with Detroit, has 433 career points).
  3. In the Wild franchise's first 17 games against the Senators, they were 4-9-1-3, but have reeled off four straight wins against Ottawa, allowing just one goal in three of the four wins.
  4. The Wild are 4-6-1 when they score a power-play goal, and 8-1-1 when they fail to score with the man advantage. The Wild's 8-1-1 record when NOT scoring a PPG is the best in the NHL.
  5. Defenseman Matt Dumba has a four-game point streak and has eight goals on the season. The eight goals are the most ever by a Wild defencemen in the first 21 games of a season.
  6. Minnesota has eight comeback wins, tied with the Rangers for the most in the league. Ottawa has seven blown-lead losses, tied for third most in the NHL.

Getting shots to the net is one thing. Getting shots past a goalie is another, one that the Minnesota Wild failed to do over the weekend.

Despite outshooting Buffalo 39-29 Saturday night and Chicago 40-28 on Sunday, Minnesota dropped 3-2 and 3-1 decisions for their first back-to-back regulation losses this season. It's a trend the Wild want to stop on Wednesday night when they host the Ottawa Senators at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn.

The loss at Chicago was particularly frustrating. Not only have the Blackhawks been skidding for about a month, the Wild (12-7-2) pumped 29 shots on Corey Crawford in the last two periods. But Crawford, who appears to have retained almost all of his peak value after missing most of last season with concussion-related issues, turned away 28 of them to keep Minnesota at arm's length.

"Getting in front of the goalie rather than the side. You're looking for tips," Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said when asked what his team could have done differently. "Sometimes, it's tough because we shoot high and when you shoot high if you're the forward, you don't really want to go to the front of the net.

"But when you're playing a guy like Crawford who doesn't give up a lot of rebounds, if he can see the puck you've got to get in his eyes and in his face. That's how you get goals."

At the top of the Central Division, there is little room for error. With Nashville off to a 15-5-1 start and a five-point lead, Minnesota can't afford to eat too many losses in a row. Winnipeg also has 26 points and two games in hand.

The way forward Zach Parise sees it, the Wild have to come out with a sense of urgency.

"It's a good thing if you're not accustomed to losing two in a row," he said. "But now you just have to make sure it's not three in a row. Maybe we can get better screens in front of the net. Maybe that's why we're not scoring the last couple of games. Who knows? But make sure it stops."

The arrival of Ottawa (9-9-3) in town may be what Minnesota needs to get back into the win column. The Senators imploded defensively Monday night in a 7-5 home loss to Florida, playing poorly in front of goalie Craig Anderson. He was chased in the second period after allowing six goals on 22 shots.

Ottawa was able to pull within 6-5 and had a 5-on-3 power play for 21 seconds, but couldn't convert.

"I thought the boys showed a lot of heart in the third period," center Matt Duchene said to the Ottawa Sun. "We made a good push and just came up short."

This will be the start of a four-game road trip for the Senators, who have to figure out a way to shore up the NHL's worst defense if they are to mount any kind of a playoff push in the Eastern Conference. Anderson has faced more shots than any goalie in the league.

Updated November 20, 2018

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