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Our three weekly Minnesota Sports Ramble blogs are released on Tuesday (Minnesota Vikings related), Wednesday (Minnesota Wild related), and Friday (Minnesota Timberwolves related).
The importance of Mikko Koivu, blanked by the Calgary Flames, spanked by the Edmonton Oilers, and a route of the Montreal Canadiens are discussed in this edition. As usual, Wild analyst Peter Ripka answers questions from Rambling On god-king Erik Ritland.
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Since we last talked, the Wild have continued their inconsistent ways. They lost 2-0 to the Flames, got killed 7-2 by the Oilers, and killed the Cadiens 7-1. What are your general thoughts on the Wild's play as of late?
I can live with the Flames loss, that was a good game and we just couldn't find a way to finish our chances. In Edmonton, Dubnyk once again showed his struggles, and on the whole they were far from good enough to even be in the same building as the oilers.
Against the Habs on Tuesday they were aggressive on and off the puck, in addition to skating and working hard. The Candiens were on a bit of a hot streak, so it showed us what this team is capable of. It was also a big bounce back game for Dubnyk. Now he needs to back it up against the Panthers tonight.
The Wild were shut out for the first time in Calgary. Bruce Boudreau called it "awful." What happened?
They couldn't bury their chances that they had. They over-skated or just plain missed pucks we normally get. It also didn't help that they lost their Captain early in the 3rd.
Bruce Boudreau rightly said he was 'concerned' after their 7-2 pounding by the Oilers. Did it concern you? Did it make you think anything different about the team? How did things go so wrong?
It was concerning because it was the first of a possible long stretch without their Captain. Also, they didn't play like they wanted to be there. I still think this team has talent, but they need to avoid the letdowns they've had over the last three weeks. And it all starts in goal with Dubnyk.
It doesn't seem like it's very serious, but Mikko Koivu was injured in Calgary. How did it happen? If the durable Koivu ever missed a significant amount of time, what impact would it have on the Wild?
It happened on a very bad, dirty play early in the third, in which Calgary Captain Mark Giordano collided with him. He received a two game suspension for it and also apologized right away to Koivu.
He is our best defensive center and that was shown against the speedy Oilers. It'll make playing team defense even more important without him in the lineup.
What went right for the Wild in their 7-1 route of the Canadiens?
Simply, they buried their chances. The power play was also outstanding, especially Granlund and Dumba. They ended the game +5 on special teams, going 4-for-4 on the power play and getting a shorty from Coyle. They were also aggressive with and without the puck.
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.