This game was another in a recent string for this team where they just come out of the gates sluggish and uncoordinated. Once is a fluke, twice is a pattern, so after both the Carolina and Dallas matchups, it’s safe to say the Wild need to work out some kinks in their early game strategy. It was great to get Scandella back (never heard why he was gone though other than ‘personal reasons’) and I thought he looked pretty good considering he hadn’t had any game action in six days. Lets dive right into looking at the postgame data.
There were a ton of penalties called in the first half of this game, which I thought broke up the flow and didn’t really let the teams get in flow. The officiating wasn’t the greatest, but that’s certainly not an excuse. The chart above shows that after the first period, the Wild steadily crawled back in terms of the overall shot attempt count, but what it doesn’t show is a breakdown–consider this:
Dallas (5v5): 24 shots on goal, 9 missed, 14 blocked =47 corsi events
Minnesota (5v5): 18 shots on goal, 15 missed, 16 blocked = 49 corsi events
Any coach will tell you that more shots on net are better, and when it’s a team like Dallas that is just skating so well and playing so well as a unit, each of those shots can be dangerous. After the early goal, Dubnyk looked good and didn’t let the team slip into a 0-2 hole, so credit him for that.
Remember that the above charts are only for 5v5, so special teams goals are not shown. After having trouble getting traffic through the middle of the ice against Carolina, I suppose it’s good to see the two Wild goals coming from the middle–Spurgeon’s shot was redirected by Niederreiter, and then Scandella buried one to tie the game a second time. This team has not had a ton of scoring from its blueline recently, so it’s somewhat encouraging to see them with a good corps back there who can score if the forwards aren’t getting it done down low.
To my point above, you can clearly see all the blocked or missed shots coming from just in front of the net. Certainly Pominville’s egregious miss hurts there, but we see a clear opportunity for Minnesota to tighten up that part of their game. Might be nitpicky, but we also see that everything down low seemed to be coming from Lehtonen’s left side–I count seven missed or blocked shots from his right side.
I’m going to sort of experiment with which charts I include in an effort to best convey the information, so please let me know which ones you prefer, and which are easiest to interpret. I think for now I’ll stick to the linemate chart only and hold off on the matchup chart because it gets a little gnarly. Plus, I tend to think that looking who players are deployed with is more informational.
We see that the Koivu line handled its business in this game, and indeed, they were about the only ones who developed any kind of forecheck or pressure. The Granlund line was just beat up, and Coyle’s line found a bit of success. If you’re wondering why Nate Prosser’s part is empty, it’s because he did not skate a single second at 5v5–he was only deployed on the penalty kill. Yep, that’s right. No time at evens, nill, zilch, nada, ZERO POINT ZERO MINUTES.
I know Yeo likes Scandella’s defensive and special teams play, but I also know the team scratched one time second-round pick Bret Bulmer in advance of the game, signaling there isn’t really anyone at Iowa that’s ready to produce, and that’s not a good sign. Even with Parise healthy, the club would need some depth to carry them through the long season, and an injury to the star player certainly shakes things up as well. This club’s strength is in its depth of scoring, but that only works when everyone is healthy. The team’s overall record belies their injury problems this year, with Graovac and Fontaone going down, then Parise. Starting to get concerned that if they don’t get things figured out, they could be a team that’s competitive but can’t overtake the top teams in the division.