After witnessing the first two games of this new era of Minnesota Wild hockey, I find myself wondering what happened to the defense. Through two games the Minnesota Wild have allowed 29 shots per game and have not really increased their offensive output.
It is going to take time for the team learn the new system that new head coach Todd Richards has implemented, and it is evident on the ice.
Veteran Wild orward Pierre Marc-Bouchard looks lost. He has yet to tally a point through two games and really seems to be missing Jacques Lemaire's presence.
One of the most intriguing aspects to the new season is supposed to be the reemergence of defenseman Brent Burns as an offensive force. He has only one assist while leading the team in ATOI (Average Time on Ice).
It is definitely a good sign that Niklas Backstrom is on top of his game again to start the season. Without outstanding play from Backstrom through the first two, the Wild would be 0-2 and off to a terrible start.
Instead, he gathered himself nicely after a poor start in the Wild home opener against Anaheim, allowing the team to make a miraculous three-goal comeback in the third period. A goal by Andrew Brunette in overtime gave the Wild a much needed two points and confidence moving forward into their long road trip.
The next five games are all on the West Coast and it will be a grueling, tough test to the month of October.
Wild fans, we will definitely find out how the season will shape up in the first few weeks, with tough games against elite Western Conference opponents and an Eastern Conference road trip in early November with 2008-2009 playoff teams Washington and Carolina finishing it off.