Well, game one went just according to plan…sort of. The Wild lost in Chicago which was not a surprise. They lost in overtime, which wasn't really a shock either. They did so with a goaltender that started a total of five games this season and is battling multiple sclerosis.
In a series against hockey's best team, the Wild needed Niklas Backstrom to stand on his clichéd head and steal not just a game, but a series. Not only did Backstrom not stand on his head, he couldn't even stand after suffering an injury of the lower body variety in the pre-game warm-up.
Enter Josh Harding, who last we saw him was giving up the final three goals in the home finale last Friday. The stage was set for a Chicago rout, but a funny thing happened on the way to the United Center. It turned out it wasn't the goaltending that the Wild needed to worry about. It was their inability to finish offensively.
Stop me if you've heard this one before.
In April, the Wild played 15 games (regular and postseason). In those 15 games, they were 5-9-1 and scored two or fewer goals in 11 of the 15. They were shut-out three times, scored five goals in five of the games and tallied two goals in the remaining three. In those 11 games, they were 1-9-1. The goal production has gone down from 3.60 goals per game in March to a mere 1.78 goals in April.
It doesn't matter who you have in goal. If you can't give your tender more than two goals per game, you have zero chance.