Minnesota Wild: Overtime Issues Need to Be Fixed Now

The Minnesota Wild lost another game in overtime last night in Dallas.  Looking back to the inception of the 3-on-3 overtime the Wild are now and have been the worst NHL team in the extra frame.  Maybe it’s time Bruce Boudreau makes overtime an emphasis.

Last night’s overtime loss was a tough one for the Minnesota Wild.  The one point earned was certainly a good thing, but after a 1-2 homestand that showed some serious scoring issues with the Wild, it would have been great if the club could have finished the job and gotten two points from a division rival on the road.

The way the Wild lost in overtime was just another example in long string dating back to last season where the Wild have played very poorly in the 3-on-3 extra frame.  Another overtime mental lapse by Mikko Koivu in the form of an ill-advised pass to Mikael Granlund led to the Jamie Benn overtime winner.

Last season the Wild were 1-9 in the overtime frame, and if it went a shootout 4-11…so only slightly better.  That trend looks to continue this season despite the change in coaching staff as the Wild are 1-2 in OT and have not been to the shootout yet this season.

Nov 21, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Minnesota Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau watches his team take on the Dallas Stars during the third period at the American Airlines Center. The Stars defeat the Wild 3-2 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

As a matter for fact the Wild’s 3-on-3 woes are so bad that since the format’s introduction they have only won one game making them the worst in the NHL.

That’s a trend item that needs to be fixed.  The fact that the Wild lost out on so many points in OT and the shootout last season and are heading for that same fate this season should be a concern /emphasis for the coaching staff.

But thus far Bruce Boudreau hasn’t really seen overtime as an issue.  This is where I think the new Wild head coach might have missed this in doing his offseason homework.  When asked if the Wild were practicing the extra frame earlier this season the Boudreau didn’t seem to think it was an item that needed to emphasized.  That’s a miss in my opinion because he should have seen that this was a team that struggled mightily in OT.

The Hockey News offered a great explanation of why the Wild are so bad in 3-on-3.  “The Wild have a nasty defensive habit of losing opposition players in transition, which is playing with fire during 3-on-3. They overcommit to players, and the open man makes them pay.”

Now that may not be the exact explanation for last night’s loss in Dallas, but it pretty much explains the Wild’s lack of focus in the 3-on-3 game.  That lack of focus needs to be fixed.  The system and the players need to be tweaked to insure not only are scoring chances being made, but simultaneously the defensive side of the puck is being cared for as well.

Going forward the Wild have a lot of problems to fix related to scoring, but what troubles me is that this overtime issue is a hangover from last season.  If Boudreau wants to make the Wild into something other than a bubble playoff team, he needs to be getting these valuable points.  It’s worth his time to sit down and rethink the Wild’s 3-on-3 strategies.  The current system doesn’t work…pure and simple.

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