Penalty kill struggles doom Wild in Game 1 loss to Blackhawks

Penalty kill struggles doom Wild in Game 1 loss to Blackhawks
May 3, 2014, 12:30 am
Share This Post
Nina Falcone

On Friday afternoon, the Minnesota Wild talked about the pride they take in their penalty kill.

After finishing 27th overall when down a man during the regular season, the Wild ranked fourth in the postseason, shutting down 22 of the Colorado Avalanche's 25 power plays in their opening-round playoff series.

That trend, however, failed to continue in Game 1 against the Chicago Blackhawks.

"We didn't capitalize when we needed to and they scored on their power plays," forward Zach Parise said following his team's 5-2 loss. "I think that was the difference: the special teams."

[MORE: Kane, Blackhawks move past Wild in Game 1 win]

A high stick to Marian Hossa landed defenseman Jonas Brodin four minutes in the penalty box with a double-minor in the first period. Bryan Bickell capitalized.

Fast-forward to the second period and Brodin wound up back in the box on the same call, and the Blackhawks had the same response.

Suddenly the defending champions were up 2-0, despite only getting three shots on goal throughout the second period, opposed to Minnesota's 17.

"They got their one power-play goal and I think we hit a couple posts and had a couple near-misses that you wish would have gone in," Parise said. "As far as puck possession and puck control, I think we did a lot of good things."

The Wild had their good moments. They found ways to drive to the net, get shots on Crawford and held the Blackhawks to just 22 shots on goal. But that doesn't make up for their mistakes made when four of those shots — plus an empty-netter — go in.

"We have to play a complete game, and for whatever level we dropped a little tonight — urgency level, details," head coach Mike Yeo said. "We did some good things, but we're not going to sit around right now and feel good about those things."

[RELATED: Backhand practice making Patrick Kane perfect]

Yeo is expecting very different efforts and results in Game 2.

"We're not fretting here," he said. "The next game is what I'm looking forward to right now, and I know they're going to be better in the next game. This is a veteran team that recognizes the importance of that game."

The Wild had their good moments inside the United Center. But at the end of the day, they couldn't execute the finer details the right way, especially on the penalty kill. 

Now they'll focus on the smaller things as they prepare for the remainder of their series against the Blackhawks.

"It's not just effort, it's not just trying hard. It's doing things the right way," Yeo said. "There wasn't enough urgency in the details and the little things that add up and make a difference this time of year. We slept a little bit from last game, so we'll rectify that."