The Vancouver Canucks and Minnesota Wild share a common thread when they meet Thursday in Saint Paul, Minn.
Both the Canucks and Wild are among the three NHL teams — along with the San Jose Sharks — without a win so far this season, a distinction that isn’t sitting well in their hockey-crazed cities.
Vancouver, in fact, is the first team in league history to lose four straight (0-3-1) after holding a multi-goal lead in each game.
“When you start the season like this, you really have to take a look in the mirror,” Canucks defenseman Tyler Myers said after the latest loss on Tuesday, a 4-3 defeat in overtime to the Columbus Blue Jackets, who were also winless coming into the game.
Vancouver coach Bruce Boudreau has been denied his 600th NHL win for five straight games dating to the season finale last season.
After seeing the players’ sticks strewn around the hallway leading to the dressing room after Tuesday’s loss, Boudreau said he didn’t bother addressing the team.
“Sometimes after a game like this, nothing is going to get through,” he said.
The Wild suffered their third straight loss in regulation at home to start the season on Monday, falling 6-3 to the Colorado Avalanche, the defending Stanley Cup champions. Minnesota has allowed 20 goals in the three games.
“Goals against is a concern,” Wild coach Dean Evason said after the most recent loss. “It’s on the goalie, it’s on the defense, it’s on the forwards, it’s on the coaches. It’s on all of us. We’re giving up way too many goals.”
The Wild have been productive in the offensive zone, however. They’re averaging four goals a game and scored twice on the power play against the Avalanche one game after netting three power-play strikes against the Los Angeles Kings in a 7-6 loss.
“It’s tough. We’re in a funk right now,” Wild defenseman Calen Addison said. “There’s a lot of bounces we’re not getting both ways. I think we played well (against Colorado). We’re taking a step in the right direction. We’re obviously showing how well we can work teams down low and create offense in their zone and things like that. We’ve just got to keep doing what we’re doing and we’re going to get out of it.”
Center Joel Eriksson Ek said the Wild need to continue relying on their speed to create even more offense.
“For us, coming out and really pushing the pace is going to help us to get those goals,” he said.
Myers made his season debut on Tuesday after sitting out the first three games with a lower-body injury. The former Calder Memorial Trophy winner said changes need to begin on the defensive end.
“We’ve got to do the little things, in terms of sprinting back into position defensively, making sure we’re in the right position to limit those grade-A chances that they’re getting,” Myers said. “We’ve got to flip a switch with it.”
Myers has been a big asset in the locker room during the slow start, said Vancouver goalie Spencer Martin, who had 29 saves in his season debut on Tuesday night
“Our leadership group hasn’t been quiet at all,” Martin said. “We’ve been grinding to get this thing going the right way.”
–Field Level Media