Minnesota is finally getting scoring from its secondary players.
By SARAH SERVETNICKFS North
FRIDAY'S STORY LINE: Where is the depth? Where is the secondary scoring? In the first five games of the season, those questions were constantly fired at coach Mike Yeo. The top line of Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu and Dany Heatley has been as advertised. The three were dominant from the get-go and combined for 10 of Minnesota's 13 goals in the first five games. Still the question was when the secondary scoring would chip in.
The last two games, against Columbus and Chicago, the reinforcements have arrived. The last four Wild goals have been scored by players not named Parise, Koivu or Heatley.
Cal Clutterbuck, who scored his first goal of the season Wednesday against the Blackhawks, said it helps relieve some pressure.
"You want to help your teammates win games as much as you can," Clutterbuck said. "And when you have those a couple of tough games in a row and you haven't scored yet, as the second and third line, it sort of wears on you and it gets tough."
Matt Cullen also netted his first goal against Chicago.
"It is nice to get it now, but the important thing is you focus on playing a complete game and not getting too carried away with just focusing on scoring goals," he said. "If you take care of everything else, it will just happen."
Yeo was happy with both Clutterbuck and Cullen Wednesday and believes the two can build confidence from their efforts.
"What I really liked about Cully and Clutter the last game is I know that these guys have been pressing and squeezing the stick a little bit, but the fact of the matter they didn't deviate from their game at all," Yeo said. "You know they played really well without the puck. They were playing the right way with the puck. Quite often when people are having trouble scoring goals they start to drift to the outside and make it harder on themselves, but the two goals those guys scored one is a rebound and one is a deflection. I think that is a really good sign, and hopefully it opens the floodgates."
HE SAID IT: "It is fair we have high expectations, and it is understandable. … We haven't had those for a while, so it is exciting to come into the season with expectations." --
Cullen on the high expectations for Minnesota this season