The Minnesota Wild weren't supposed to be good this season, but with their effort in the first four games, it appears it could be even more brutal than originally thought. The team that was projected to have the third-lowest point total in the NHL by USA Today dropped their home opener on Saturday night as they fell to the Pittsburgh Penguins by a score of 7-4.
There are many ways to dissect the Wild's poor performance to start the season, but a great place to begin is the play of Devan Dubnyk. The Wild goaltender has been bad in the first four games, going 0-4-0 and recording a pitiful .882 save percentage.
Dubnyk was at it again on Saturday, allowing a first-period goal to Patrick Hornqvist before a second-period meltdown where he allowed four Penguin goals. That brought his total to five goals allowed on 23 shots before being replaced by Alex Stalock.
With the Wild dead by the final five minutes of the second period, fans were left to deliver the fight the home team was lacking on in the ice in the stands as Jason Zucker and Jared Spurgeon both notched second-period goals.
As many of the 18,061 in attendance made their way to the exits, the Wild finally made a rally with goals from Brad Hunt and Luke Kunin late in the third period but it came way too late as Minnesota dropped its fourth straight game.
"I don't know. It's not one thing. I don't have an answer for you right now for that one," said Wild captain Mikko Koivu, via the team's website. "A lot of it is between the ears right now."
"There's no excuses. It is what it is right now. Nothing we can do about that again, but I don't have an answer for you what went wrong or what changed the game, or whatever. I'm sure we're going to go through that game tomorrow, see what we did wrong and make sure we correct that and get better for Monday."
Such an effort was not inspiring for a team that went 16-18-7 at home last year, which may inspire the Wild to turn their team slogan to "This is our ice. Come do whatever you want on it."
The Wild will look to get their first win of the season against one of the two teams to actually be projected lower by USA Today when they travel to Ottawa to face the Senators on Monday night.