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Ryan Hartman takes penalties after Wild slipped from playoffs: ‘I let my team down’

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Tampa, Florida. – Ryan Hartman He sat in his dressing room, his head down.

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You can tell he’s frustrated. He was taking this hard.

veteran Wild The forward was on the wrong end of an unlucky rebound – Steven Stamkos’ desperate shot rebounded off Hartmann’s shoulder and into the net for the winning goal in Tuesday’s 4-2 loss at Amalie Arena.

It was a blow, as Minnesota’s third straight defeat came on a night that felt like it pushed the perennial Cup winner Lightning to the max.

Stamkos’ goal was not Hartmann’s fault. What was more upsetting – and irritating coach Dean Evason – was where Hartmann ended up after 40 seconds: in the penalty area. The pinning penalty was his second of the match, and continued the worrying trend of undisciplined and sudden penalties that could eventually land him in the scratch.

“I felt like I had let my team down,” said Hartmann. “I’m responsible for some of the things that happened. It’s clearly not a good feeling.”

Evason who came Near Hartmann’s bench in DecHe defended him after one of his penalties proved costly in Saturday’s loss at Florida. On Tuesday, he was not forgiving. If Hartmann fell on the sword, the head coach didn’t save him.

“He must be hard on himself,” Evason said. “It’s stupid. Very stupid.”

Evason could be trying to send a message – as he did by scratching Dumbaa died In back-to-back matches – by taking on Hartmann on Thursday vs Flyers. To be sure, this latest stretch of losses isn’t all down to Hartman. But the urgency around the team is high as the Wild have fallen out of the playoff zone, now just one point behind the defending champions. Avalanchewho have won six in a row. Edmonton And Calgarywho holds both wild card spots, also continues to win.

“It’s better if we’re absolutely desperate for the next hockey game,” Evason said. “We were close (Tuesday) with our game. But we need to see our best game ever in a few nights.”

Evason told his team after Tuesday’s loss that if they played this way, more often than not, they would give themselves a chance. Employees sent out a tough exercise letter on Monday, reminding them that this “guest trip” — with parents, brothers and cousins ​​joining them in Florida — wasn’t a “vacation.”

The Wild responded very well on Tuesday in an intense, entertaining, physical game. There were a lot of at-bats, big hits, and even some haymakers thrown in Jake Middleton And Nick Paul In the first period fight.

“It was big boy hockey,” said Lightning coach John Cooper. “It was fun.”

There were also great saves from both goalkeepers. Marc Andre Fleury And Andrey Vasilevsky. The highlight reel of the night came by Fleury in the second period on a short-handed breakaway Brandon Hagel. Fleury, one of the most aggressive goalkeepers out there, rose out of his crease to make a diving dunk on Hagel to thwart the threat.

“I just thought, ‘It might as well snap him and not let him settle the puck and get the breakaway,'” Fleury said.

Fleury played well enough to win, but the Wild didn’t give him enough offensive support. The problem is still simple.

Minnesota was one of the best five-on-five teams last season. This year, he wasn’t, ranking 27th in five-on-five goals.

If The Wild doesn’t fix that, they’re in deep trouble.

They may finish second in the league by short-term goals (Joel Erickson MI I got another tuesday). The power play was good (Kirill Kaprizov They added credit to give them another one-goal lead in the middle of the match). But they’ve only had one goal from five-to-five in their last three games, all losses.

The top line has been pretty much invisible lately. The GREEF line has seen some strong shifts, especially early on, but it hasn’t yielded. Poldy died He has two goals (both from power play) in his last 14.

“We puck in the area a lot,” said Hartmann. “We need more bodies on the grid. I know I need to generate more.”

Hartmann scored 34 goals last season, a career high. But he’s won just five of 24 games this season, having missed most of the first few months with a shoulder injury. The team’s stunning top line last year, between Kabrizov and Mats ZuccarelloBut he lost his place early this season and never regained it. General Manager Bill Guerin was hoping Hartmann’s return from injury would press the pause button when they needed to get a top six assist. It didn’t turn out that way.

But the problem with the Wild is that it’s not just Hartmann who has held back offensively. Marcus Foligno He has just four goals in 37 games after scoring a career high 23 a year ago. Jordan Greenway He has two goals in 29 matches. You would have to think after half a dozen players have gone into their careers in 2021-22 that somehow this is bound to happen.

It can’t be Kaprizov’s offer, it’s not even infallible. His three shots on goal on Tuesday match his total from the previous three matches combined.

“Well, we’ve been on the road for quite some time, right, and this one’s a little different,” Evason said. “Every team is focused on their MVP, and Kabrizov is the MVP of the Minnesota Wild. He gets special attention.”

Evason said he usually doesn’t like switching lines, preferring to let players get themselves out of it. “They’re in the ring, they’re the ones fighting there,” Evason said. “If we sense some chemistry issues and it doesn’t work, you have to turn it around a little bit. But, for the most part, we want to be patient.”

Patience was running out with Doumba, which is why they scratched him on Thursdays and Saturdays. But they went from getting a point in seven of their eight matches to losing three in a row. Dumba looked good at times in his return on Tuesday, but he ended up going minus-2 in 22 minutes, 23 seconds of ice time. Corey Perry He trailed behind for his second goal, a deflection on the strength of the play late in the second game. “There was a meltdown there,” Doumba said. “I must try to prevent that.”

Did Evason finally see enough to sit down Hartmann, who had spoken to him before about penalties? I asked Evason what goes into the decision to scratch a veteran player, as with a dumba.

“There’s a lot that goes into this,” Evason said. “It’s not a snap decision. We didn’t make that decision about a turnover or a play that happened. We make those decisions about compound things that keep happening. Our process as staff is we talk to a player, much earlier, we show clips, we talk about it. We ask the player to He plays a certain way, and if they don’t do that consistently, or we see the same thing, then our last resort is to sit the player down.”

Dumba said he felt there were times in the third period when the Wild “really poured it on them”. Hartmann thought they “dominated” most of the game. The difference in the match was the goal of Stamkos, who entered after a penalty kick Mikhail Sergachev A ping pong pass from Matt Boldy W Jared SpurgeonStamkos stick skate.

“I thought we responded very well,” Evason said. “We all thought it was a great hockey game. Did we make some mistakes? Sure. But did we compete with the donkeys? Yeah. We said to the guys after–I hate to say it, ‘The score wasn’t there, but if we play that way. ‘ But really if we play That way every night, we’ll give ourselves a better chance of winning.”

There are so many good things about Wild – when they play with their identity. They can play a heavy game, and they can play a strong defensive game. It featured Hall of Famer Scotty Bowman, who was in Tuesday’s game.

“It will be difficult to beat them because they play a different style than most teams,” Baumann said. the athlete. “When you play in the playoffs, you play the same team seven times, and you have to have some sandpaper. They have a lot of it. It’s hot.”

But the Wild must make the playoffs first. And they need players like Hartmann to help them extricate themselves from this predicament. He can’t help them from the penalty area, as he’s among the league leaders in penalty minutes per game (1:47).

“We have to look ourselves in the mirror,” Hartmann said. “Me among them.”

(Photo: Kim Clement/USA Today)

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