Tonight, the Wild got off to a blazing start, with something like 7 shots on goal in the first 5 minutes of the game. Toronto stabilized in the second, and the game was close into the third period, and while the Leafs managed to put the biscuit behind Devan Dubnyk once, it was called back as being offside. The replay was razor close but it was the right call.
Sometimes the possession chart lies, sometimes it does not. Tonight, the chart tells the story of the game quite well, as you can really see how Minnesota jumped down their throats in the first but by the end of the third it was all tied up.
Toronto was on the second night of a back-to-back, so credit them for hanging on for this game, particularly with the lightning quick pace of play in the first period. But, as things settled down, the Wild managed to outplay the Leafs more often than not. Early in the game, Minnesota was executing super clean zone exit passes, moving through the neutral zone with ease, and getting pucks to the net. This was a “Good Dumba” game, and he finally put one of his laser slap shots into the twine. Check out this beaut:
Dumba has the puck on his stick, and makes a great play by passing to Spurgeon with the full expectation that Spurge will make some space and pass it immediately back to him and he JUST HAMMERS it past Reimer. For me, I think Dumba is still sort of in between AHL and NHL ready…but if he keeps it up on the PP and doesn’t make too many mistakes at evens, he could really help the club.
The Koivu line did its thing out there again, and Vanek expectedly got torched, though he had some great passes tonight, including very nearly springing Charlie Coyle from their own end. Interesting that Coyle and Fontaine were both “more minus” than Vanek, suggesting Yeo might have split his line for a shift or two. Brodin was a slight negative in terms of possession tonight as well…he has been struggling a bit, but hasn’t looked that bad. I really think he’s a bit of a victim of his great rookie year.
Either the Wild made an effort to funnel the Leafs to the center of the ice…or TOR was just able to get to the home plate area. Lot of shots on goal in there, very few missed or blocked for Minnesota. On the other side of the ice, it’s sort of the same pattern, though it’s really good to see those ‘S’ up near the blue line–from both sides–indicating the Wild defenders are not shy about letting it fly.
Tonight’s tilt was closely contested, and again, tilt your cap to the Leafs and be glad to come away with another two points.
Devan Dubnyk and his wife are expecting their second child any day now, so congrats to him. Hopefully he keeps up his stellar play of late. If you recall, he was traded to Minnesota shortly after his first son was born, and he (Devan) was pretty upset that he had to be away from his family for a couple weeks while they relocated. Personally, I think he should name his son Scooby. But, we’ll just have to see about that one.
Minnesota is now in a three-way tie for third in the Central, so they’ll have to keep on grinding their way toward the playoffs. Next up is a home and home with the hated Colorado Avalanche! You know we’ll be salivating for that mini-series.
Thanks for reading, and check out our review of some of our favorite albums of 2015! And as always, don’t forget to check me out on Twitter, @BobaFenwick and @HTHpod.