By: Adam Gretz
The Minnesota Wild have been falling fast in the Western Conference standings, and now they could be facing a critical stretch in their season without the services of their best player, Mikko Koivu. According to Michael Russo of the Star Tribune, Koivu could miss the next month of action due to a shoulder injury that he suffered on Saturday night during Minnesota's 3-2 shootout loss to the St. Louis Blues.
Even with Koivu, the team's leading scorer with 33 points (9 goals, 24 assists in 41 games), the Wild are one of the NHL's lowest scoring clubs, entering the week with an average of just 2.22 goals per game, the second-lowest mark in the league. Only the Los Angeles Kings average fewer. Obviously, this could be a big blow to a season that could already be starting to slip away from them.
Along with being Wild's leading scorer, he's also their best defensive forward and a legitimate Selke Trophy contender, so it's not just the offense that's going to be missed in his absence.
Since starting the season 20-7-3 and owning the best record in the league in early December, the Wild have lost 13 of their past 15 games, with only one of the wins coming in regulation (a 4-3 win over Edmonton back on December 29). As of Monday morning they occupy what would be the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, holding a one-point lead over the Colorado Avalanche and a two-point lead over the Dallas Stars. After facing Philadelphia on Tuesday, the Wild have four games (two each) against the Avs and Stars over the next two weeks. That's an important stretch of games.
Koivu isn't the only injury facing the Wild right now as the team is also without forwards Guillaume Latendresse and Pierre-Marc Bouchard, who is out with concussion-like symptoms.
Previously at Eye On Hockey
The Wild have a puck possession problem
Pierre-Marc Bouchard out with concussion
Bouchard injured on hit
More Minnesota Wild news
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