Movember Review

Once again this year many of the Wild players participated in Movember, from the teams website; Movember is an annual charity event held during November that engages men to grow Mo’s (slang for moustache) to raise awareness and funds for cancers affecting men. Last season, Wild defenseman Nick Schultz was one of the first NHL players to embrace the cause after the father of one of his closest friends developed prostate cancer and is currently battling against one of the more treatable forms of the disease. A 501(c)3 non-profit, Movember benefits the Prostate Cancer Foundation and LIVESTRONG.

Niklas Backstrom, Mikko Koivu, Marty Havlat, Nick Schultz
As for the month of November in terms of hockey it was a hot and cold one to say the least. They compiled six wins in the first eight games of the month only to close it out with a single win in the last five. The hot start was much to the credit of Niklas Backstrom, stealing a few games that the Wild didn't have a whole lot of business being in. The Wild were outshot by 80 shots though the first eight games, barely outscoring opponents while putting together their wins. In every one of these wins Wild opponents had at least ten more shots, in the wins over San Jose and Tampa Bay they were outshot by twenty but still managed one goal wins. On the other hand, in their two losses the Wild were outshot by a combined five shots. For the first half of the month the power play was converting on a quarter of their chances. The high spot of the month was the win over Detroit, who is number one in the west, even though the box score shows the Wild getting out played. Any time you can knock off one of the top teams in the league it does wonders for team confidence.

The second half of the season was another story for the team. In five games, they allowed 23 goals, eleven more then they scored despite scoring five in the win against Nashville and 4 in the loss to Colorado. The trend continued with shots as well as the Wild were outshot by 32 in the five games. The power play has struggled as well converting on just over six percent of their chances in the last series of games. The low spot is tough to pick for the month, the 6-1 loss to the Flyers hurt a lot but the 7-4 loss to division rival Colorado is embarrassing considering how well the goaltending has played this year.

So what does effect does November have on the Wild in terms of the season? Without factoring in today's games, on the last day of the month, the Wild sit in third place in the Northwest Division only 3 points behind both Vancouver and Colorado. Despite being that close to the division lead they sit only 2 points ahead of Calgary after their shutout loss to them earlier this week and surprisingly only 6 points ahead of last place Edmonton. The 24 points that the Wild have is good for only 12th place in the Western Conference; however, they sit four points out of the number four spot in the conference.

In my October recap I said that a record of four games over .500 would be very nice for the month, they only went one game over. The result is essentially remaining stationary in the standings, the same in the division and only a one position drop in the conference. The Wild need to work on keeping shots closer as well, the game against Calgary on Monday was the first time they have outshot the opponent since Edmonton on October 14th and only the third time all season.

December is a tough month for the Wild, they play four division games and of the 14 games this month all but one is against Western Conference opponents. A winning month would be extremely beneficial in the standings though I expect them to once again hang around the .500 level maybe just a game or two over. This should keep them in the playoff race but still on the outside looking in at a time that I would like to see them work their way up.

The opinions posted here are not those of Hockey Wilderness

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