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It’s been an ugly start to the 2019-20 campaign for the Minnesota Wild.
With only one win to their name — a gutty 2-0 victory over the lowly Ottawa Senators early this week — the squad currently sits last in the NHL standings following their first seven games. On top of that, their -15 goal differential is also worst in the league.
Following a 4-0 loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night, the team had a 10-minute players-only meeting, according to Michael Russo of The Athletic.
Despite the chat, Wild forward Jason Zucker still had plenty to say about the team, including head coach Bruce Boudreau.
“I think more than (a meeting's) going to have to jumpstart us to be honest with you,” the 27-year-old said, per Russo. “It’s going to be each individual guy from Bruce on down. Bruce has got to be better. We’ve got to be better. Everybody’s got to be better. That’s it."
This is Boudreau’s fourth season as the team’s head coach. Before finishing 11th in the Western Conference last season, the Wild were bounced from the first round of the NHL playoffs in his first two campaigns behind the bench.
As their goal differential reflects, the team has struggled to produce offence while surrendering goals in bunches early in the season. Despite five power-play opportunities against the Habs on Thursday, the Wild only mustered a total of 17 shots on Montreal’s goaltender Carey Price. Meanwhile, Minnesota gave up three first-period tallies — including the first of Victor Mete and Nick Suzuki’s careers — in a span of 4:46 late in the frame.
“Honestly, I’ve never seen anything like it,” Zucker said about the team’s ability to concede tallies in bunches. “It’s like they score one goal and all of a sudden we decide let’s just give them two more and then we’ll start playing again. I don’t have an answer for it.”
Wild defenceman Matt Dumba says the team has the players in the room capable of turning things around.
“We all have to take a look in the mirror and kind of take some onus on our game and helping each other,” he said, per Russo. “We aren't going to get far if we don't come together here and it's going to be miserable like it is right now.”
Thankfully, Minnesota has a few days to decompress and attempt to begin righting the ship on Sunday. The Wild host the Canadiens at the Xcel Energy Center at 5 p.m. ET.
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