I suppose it was too much to ask for the Wild to continue their fire wagon ways from just two days ago in Denver tonight. The Avalanche just really looked disinterested in playing proper defense that game, but tonight (after Sakic, Forsberg, and the greats did a pregame ceramony for the 20th anniversary) you had to think they’d come out and play better. And really, they didn’t improve their offense either, just limited Minnesota better. Take a look at the possession chart–both teams had a slow start but Colorado continued the pace into the second, while the Wild were able to at least put some rubber on net. That long stretch at the end of the second period though, no bueno. Both teams regrouped a bit in the third period, with Parise’s tenacious equalizer earning Minnesota a point for their trouble.
Minnesota’s Power Play looked just dreadful tonight. As Russo pointed out a couple of times during the game, Vanek just wasn’t looking right, yet there he was right in front of the net, trying to make something happen.
Minnesota managed three shots on goal over two power plays, just over 4:00 on the man advantage and they can only get three SOG–seven shot attempts total. Obviously, it’s about quality not quantity, but this team isn’t getting either right now. It’s just not coming together, yet the team does not shake things up. I’m scratching my head over here.
The War on Ice pages are having some hiccups, so the other charts are unavailable. Let me say that I thought Kuemper looked good tonight, and despite not facing a high volume of shots, he stopped most of the ones that he faced. The first goal by Colorado was just a complete breakdown at the end of a shift, Nino goes for a change when he shouldn’t, and about three guys just stand around and watch Tyson Barrie walk in for a great give-and-go tap in. They executed well, but the Wild just got caught.
Overall, this wasn’t necessarily a pretty match–there was a lot of physical stuff that didn’t get called…Iginla was just throwing haymakers and didn’t get penalized for it. Lots of rough stuff, which I don’t really think Minnesota handled well. But then again, they played good defense against a bad offensive team, so that aspect is good. This team isn’t looking fantastic right now, but they’re staying competitive in the division, and that’s about all you can ask at this time of year.
The rest of the month is looking a little dicey, with tough matchups against some Pacific teams, some eastern conference teams, and of course, a couple Conference III teams in for good measure. We’ll ahve to see if Vanek is alright, and if he’s not, no need to ship him out there to stand around.
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