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!