Hockey in the desert! Minnesota traveled to Arizona to face the slumping Coyotes tonight, and there was no question that the desert dogs would be severely over-matched against the Wild, who had not allowed more than one goal in regulation in the four games previous to tonight’s game.
Minnesota came out like gangbusters, with a dominant first two periods, though they only managed one goal for their trouble. The Wild absolutely dominated the possession game for the bulk of this game, but as always, the possession chart does contain some secrets. Let’s take a look.
While the Wild did have a nice possession lead for the game, they didn’t really widen that gap, and particuarly to start the third period, the Coyotes really came back and counterpunched the Wild. There’s tons of green and red shading here, as there were a total of nine penalties called. Minnesota’s new look Power Play produced the same results (or lack thereof,) but I will say they looked a little better with Pominville on the half wall. Just a lot more opportunities for one-timers, which you always like to see. Still a lot of just standing stationary for Minnesota, so there’s a lot of frustration with that. While they did have tons of zone time, we don’t really look at possession to measure the power play. I like the direction they’re going, but they simply have to produce. Let’s shift back to 5v5 and check some of the individuals.
I wanted to showcase some of the individual numbers here, because the Wild top six absolutely dominated the possession game tonight. Parise-Granlund-Pominville all had 17 or 18 corsi events for and just 7 against, and you could just tell the ice was tilted in their favor. Granlund seemed to be all over the ice in the first period, though he slowed down considerably to finish the game. There were a number of near-misses, a couple of pipes rung, and generally just a frustrating game for a team that should have run the Yotes out of their own barn.
Mister Darcy looked good tonight, though his .905 save percentage indicates that the team didn’t give up many shots more than anything. He came up with a few timely saves, and while we’d like to have that one goal back, he generally looked good. My hunch is that he will play Saturday versus San Jose, who should prove a tougher test, and the team in front of him will likely not be able to tilt the ice like tonight.
The Wild did not get a ton of good looks from the blue liners tonight–Suter and Spurgeon both managed three shots on goal but the rest of the group got three shots combined. The map above confirms this, and shows that neither team really to the danger zone (home plate area). Here’s an expanded look at Minnesota.
A couple of shots from just outside the danger zone there but a lot of shots blocked as well. For as well as the Wild dominated possession, you really want to see some more high-danger shots.
Minnesota will need a short memory, as they travel to the Shark Tank tomorrow to face San Jose. Will Backstrom get the start? Will the Wild be able to maintain their one-goal-in-regulation streak? We’ll talk to you again tomorrow night.
Thanks for reading, and be on the lookout for a new podcast! We really had some fun this week talking about NHL players doing car commercials, so look for that to be posted tomorrow.