The Minnesota Wild have struggled to capitalize on power plays. Improvement won’t come any easier with Zach Parise out indefinitely.
Minnesota will try to get its power play going when it opens a three-game road trip Thursday night against the Ottawa Senators.
The Wild (7-4-0) suffered their first home defeat Tuesday, 4-1 to Pittsburgh, and also lost Parise to a concussion. Coach Mike Yeo said the loss of Parise, who leads the Wild with 10 points, is ”obviously a big blow.”
Minnesota was 7-8-0 in 2013-14 without Parise, who finished second on the team with 56 points.
"Obviously a hole that is not easily filled," Yeo said. "But there will be some opportunity for some guys here for sure."
Tuesday’s defeat came despite a 34-22 advantage in shots with Nino Niederreiter scoring Minnesota’s goal. The Wild were scoreless on four power plays, falling to 2 for 35 for the league’s second-worst percentage (5.7).
Parise has yet to score a power-play goal, though he led the team with 20 points with the man advantage last season and his 14 power-play goals ranked fourth in the NHL.
The Wild haven’t scored a power-play goal on the road on 20 chances, their longest such drought since going 0 for 46 through 10 games in their inaugural season of 2000-01.
Minnesota, which plays seven of its next nine away from home, could have a tough time breaking through against the Senators (6-3-2). Ottawa has surrendered two power-play goals on 23 chances over its last five games.
The Senators improved to 3-0-2 at home with Tuesday’s 3-1 victory over Detroit. Patrick Wiercioch’s first goal of the season put Ottawa ahead with 5:23 remaining, helping the Senators avoid a third straight loss. Clarke MacArthur added an empty-netter for his fourth goal in four games.
Both teams finished with 32 shots despite Ottawa’s 16-2 first-period edge.
"The way this game went, it gives us momentum going forward even though this game was see-sawed," coach Paul MacLean said. "I though the last eight minutes our leadership group did a really good job of settling things down, getting us the game and bringing this home. We deserved this."
Alex Chiasson is expected to play after he was scratched against Detroit with a lower-body injury. He is tied for third on the team with seven points.
Erik Karlsson, who scored Tuesday, has one goal and seven assists in five career meetings with Minnesota.
The Senators have won seven of eight matchups while outscoring the Wild 29-12 in those victories, including nine power-play goals on 24 opportunities. Minnesota’s lone win in that span came in the last meeting at Ottawa, 4-3 on Nov. 20.
Craig Anderson has lost three of his last four starts against the Wild while posting a 3.94 goals-against average.
Minnesota’s Darcy Kuemper owns a 2.77 GAA and .870 save percentage over his last five starts after recording shutouts in three of his first four.