Sure feels nice to end a slump against the Blackhawks, particularly in their barn. The Wild eked out a win tonight against a talented team on the road, and they sure benefited from getting their skaters back from injury–Parise, Fontaine, and Scandella all laced ’em up tonight. I couldn’t watch the first period due to some damn technical difficulties, but the Wild came out of the gates hot in this one.
The green columns there represent Wild power plays…which is why the lines are flat on the chart here because it’s 5v5 but let’s be honest, “flat” is a great adjective to describe the man advantage for this team. They look slow, they look lost, without a plan. They have a formation they set up but beyond that, there’s no creativity, no risk-taking. It’s ugly out there. And the PK isn’t much better. Miss you Brodziak!
Quick reminder on how to read the above chart–the x-axis (horizontal) is the total number of Corsi events while a player was on the ice at 5v5, the y-axis (vertical) is the differential, so the top half is positive, bottom half negative. I’ve taken the liberty of highlighting Suter’s dominance in this game. Not only was he out there for a lot of the action, he helped direct a great deal of rubber toward the Hawks’ net while preventing shots on goal in his defensive zone. Specifically, he finished the night on the ice for 26 Corsi for, 13 against (+13 overall.) And this was largely against the Kane line too.
We see that the Wild did a good job of getting shots from all over the ice, and their goals both came from waaaaaay down low. Also, before you tweet me, the x-axis coordinates look flipped here…Suter and Pommer both scored from the right side. Might be a NHL problem, might be a WOI problem. I’ll try to update if it gets fixed. In any case, Minnesota is getting shots on goal from beyond the faceoff circles, which is great to see. Their defense has been contributing more this year it seems, though lately they have sputtered. Glad to have Scandella back, that’s for sure. Chicago seems to have been very clearly trying to get to the “home plate” area, and while there are certainly some high danger shots there, I thought overall they did a good job of limiting the Hawks chances.
It feels great to get this win, but Minnesota is still fifth place in their division. They need to keep grinding and rack up those points if they want to avoid yet another midseason slump. The playoffs are still very much in play, but this team needs to pull it together a little more to really be considered to have a chance against the upper teams in the West.
Up next, Toronto comes to town on Thursday…the Leafs have played alright lately, but another two points are definitely in play. Thanks for reading, and make sure to check out the most recent podcast, and make sure to follow @HTHpod and @BobaFenwick on Twitter!