If you watched the game tonight, there’s a pretty good chance that like me, you didn’t get to see the new Star Wars yet. So no spoilers alright!! But, if you happened to tune into the game, you got a chance to see Minnesota mop the floor with the Rangers. For the second game in a row, the Wild gave up a tidy two goals, but hung a big old crooked number on offense. These are the good times, so remember them well when the puck luck dries up. Continue reading HTH game recap 11-17-15 vs New York Rangers: Now y’all are just showing off
It seems we’ve been transported through some kind of inter-dimensional portal and ended up in a world where the Minnesota Wild are capable of putting up more shots in two periods than they can usually do in a full game plus overtime.
For as bad as the final score looked, the actual possession game was somewhat closer. To get everything kicked off, Charlie Coyle made a nifty power forward move in the slot and drew a penalty, which turned into about the easiest goal of Thomas Vanek’s career. Did you know that Charlie Coyle leads the Wild in penalties drawn (12) and he’s only taken 3 and leads the team in penalty differential (+9)? He’s really making more aggressive moves to the net this year, and the opposition is just getting pushed around. In past seasons, Coyle had a bit of a reputation for playing under his size, so it’s great to see him throwing his weight around out there.
When the squad is finding success immediately on the power play, you start to get the feeling it’s going to be one of those nights. Despite the first goal, at about the ten minute mark of the first period the Wild turned on the afterburners. Jason Zucker ended up making some space for himself in the low slot, and hammered home a goal that was definitely something Parise would be proud of.
In a game with 57 shots on goal and 94(!) total shots attempted by both teams, you start to drool at the prospect of the shot map. Well, without further ado:
Apart from the two goals scored from Mister Darcy’s doorstep, the Wild did a great job of defending the danger zone tonight. There is a very clear trend of the Canucks’ shots coming almost exclusively from the perimeter. I count eight blocked shots from the home plate area. Conversely, Minnesota put pucks on net from all over the place, but even the shots from the blue line are really closer to the top of the circles. Here’s a closeup of the Wild’s getting to the high danger area.
Everything was clicking for the Wild tonight, and certainly they all won’t be this easy. But having said that, it feels great to be on a hot streak right now, on offense and defense. Kuemper has made four quality starts (#MisterDarcy) and they say Dubnyk is ready to go, so I expect to see him on Thursday as the Wild take on the Rangers.
Hopefully they can keep things rolling, and strike while the iron is hot to make some noise in the ever-dangerous Central Division.
Quick side note: tonight’s game featured a number of players we talked about on the most recent podcast in a very fun name game, so be sure to check it out!
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. Continue reading HTH game recap 12-11-15 at Arizona: Heartbreak in the Desert
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.
Vanek having a decently-long chat with Fuller on the empty bench….Something could be up with him health-wise past few games
— Michael Russo (@Russostrib) December 8, 2015
Something has to be up with Vanek…That last shift, he barely was moving. Hasn’t been the same last 3 games
— Michael Russo (@Russostrib) December 8, 2015
Don’t mean to harp on it, but Vanek again last shift seemed to be laboring and now has his head down on the bench
— Michael Russo (@Russostrib) December 8, 2015
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.
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.
The Wild continued their road woes tonight, as they tried their best to skate with the Bruins at TD Garden–but a combination of general sloppy play and disorganized attacks handed them a loss on the last game of a long road trip. I listened to the first half of the game on the radio driving home from work, but this just looks like a team depleted. Pominville and Zucker were banged up in this game as well, which just feels like adding injury to insult. Continue reading HTH game recap 11-19-15 at Boston: Subterranean Homesick Blues
Despite their respective positions in the standings, the Wild just looked overmatched against the Penguins in the early part of this game. They were just outmanned–specifically, through the first two periods, the Crosby-Hornqvist-Dupuis line did not allot a shot attempt of any kind (blocked, missed, or otherwise) while on the ice. This was across Minnesota lines, too, not just one particular matchup. The wheels fell off the bus in the second period, and credit them for making a contest of it again in the third, but I think the team’s depth is really starting to show its cracks. In the third of a four-game road trip, the Wild have not had the benefit of last change, and they will certainly be happy to get home. Continue reading HTH game recap 11-17-15: These Penguins had large talons
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.
Sometimes you eat the bear and sometimes, well…the bear, he eats you. I thought Devan Dubnyk didn’t play that bad in the first period of this game, but he let one in right off a power play faceoff, and then was collided with to allow the second goal. I didn’t think Dumba pushed the defender into Duby that much, so I was a little annoyed that they let the goal stand. But, that early in the game, there was nothing else to do but buckle down and try to get back in the game. Continue reading HTH Game Recap 11-12-15 Minnesota at Carolina: An uphill victory