"The Parise-Koivu-Niederreiter line has finally developed their chemistry and are playing with confidence. Continuing that confidence and getting pucks and bodies to the net is essential for their continued success."
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We release three Minnesota Sports Ramble blogs a week: on Tuesday (Minnesota Vikings related), Wednesday (Minnesota Wild related), and Thursday (Minnesota Timberwolves related).
In this Minnesota Wild edition, Rambling On Wild analyst Peter Ripka discuss the Wilds impressive road trip, which lines are succeeding most, defensive play, and the egg they laid against the Caps at home.
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After the Wilds longest road trip in history, in which they went 5-2 including winning the last three, they came home and laid an egg against the Capitals. What went wrong? Are the Caps just that good? Had fatigue finally set in?
They were not clean and looked very slow. Especially Suter, who had possibly the worst game of his wild career.
Also, of course, the Caps are the reigning champions for a reason. They have a lot of talent and are the best team in the league off the rush.
It is strange that, no matter the team, the last game of a long road stretch and the first game after are always the ones in which they seem to flat.
The Parise-Koivu-Niederreiter line combined for six points against the Kings. Are they finally gelling? What will they have to do for their success continue?
They seem to have finally developed their chemistry and are playing with confidence. That is the biggest factor in the success of that line. Continuing that confidence and getting pucks and bodies to the net is essential for their continued success.
What else did you get out of the Wilds 3-1 victory against the Kings?
That the Kings are not a very good team. They are struggling offensively, even with the addition of Ilya Kovalchuk. With that said, the Wild played great defensively and looked dominant on offense for stretches of the game.
How impressed are you by the Wilds defense as a whole? Who is overachieving? Who is underachieving?
They have been very dependable and have been contributing on offense a lot. I'd like to say the third pair of Seeler and Pateron are over achieving, but they've sustained it, and as such expectations have been raised.
The underachiever of the group is Suter. I don't know if it is his injury playing a part or if age has caught up. He seems slow, almost like he's skating in quick sand.
The Zucker-Staal-Granlund line stepped up in the Wilds impressive 5-1 victory in Anaheim. Have they been consistent? Is it nice that different lines can step up on different nights, or does that just mean that none of them are consistent?
That line has been consistent when together as far as applying pressure, but that doesn't necessarily always lead to scoring. Throughout the season you need all your lines to contribute. Depth in scoring is what brings teams to the pinnacle of the sport.
Any other takeaways from the Anaheim game?
Anaheim is a shell of the franchise they used to be. Their defensive zone coverage is horrendous.
What did you think of the Wilds gutsy win in St. Louis?
That was a big win. They did not play as well as they had the other games of the trip, but they gutted it out by playing a good team game and being opportunistic with their scoring chances. A team that is willing to make big blocks and sacrifice their bodies shows its willingness to battle with each other every night.
The Wild went 5-2 on their longest road trip in history. How did they pull it off?
They didn't quite play the NHL elite on the trip, but they played solid defensively, got good goaltending, and played within the system on offense.
Peter Ripka is the original Rambling On podcast co-host and has been a contributor since its inception. He’s currently the Wild analyst, a position he’s held for several years. A Wild and Twins season ticket holder, his writing combines the passion of a fan and the insight of a beat writer.