Thought Bubble: Stuck in the middle



Greetings all! The Wild are currently in a 5 game tailspin (yeah I know, ''thanks for reminding us'') in which we've seen some pretty horrendous hockey but for a while now we've been talking about our team's horrible play in the middle frame of games. Granted, it's gotten much better lately, but still not very good. I thought I'd look into this in greater detail for this TB. Turns out the Wild aren't the only ones struggling in the second period. As a matter of fact, the Wild aren't even that bad compared to some. Also, I discovered that the second period woes also apply to Wild fans.

Jump and I'll show you what I mean.

 

Opening panel: Wild vs. the second period.

Yes, the Wild have been struggling in the second period, and we all know how badly we're being outshot in second periods (301-205.. I think this is accurate, I calculated manually, couldn't find the numbers anywhere), but guess how many times the Wild have allowed goals in the second period... Wait for it...18 games out of 26... plus, they've allowed second period goals in 5 straight (after the Dallas game) and in 9 of the last 10 games. How many games have the Wild scored second period goals you ask? 14 games out of 26. That isn't half bad (it's one game better than half bad as a matter of fact), 

How many goals have the Wild scored and allowed in the second period? 18 out of 63 goals (28.5 %) scored in the second period (only the NJ Devils have scored less) and 27 goals out of 73 (37%) allowed in the middle frame (10th in that category, which isn't so bad). Coming back to shots in the second period, the Wild have been outshot 20 times out of 26, which is rather pathetic, but what's even more pathetic is that before the Dallas game, where the Wild actually manage to outshoot the Stars by a healthy margin, the Wild had been outshot 17 out of the last 18 games, managing 10 shots or better TWICE, one of those times being the time they outshot the opposition. Plus, in that 18 game stretch, the Wild have scored 9 goals and allowed... 18... ugh.

But, out of the 18 goals the Wild have scored in the middle frame, 6 were scored against teams that have allowed more second period goals than the Wild and they've only played against 6 of those teams.

What does all of this mean? It means that the Wild began the season decent enough in second periods, but for some reason, something completely snapped and now the Wild are disgustingly consistent in their second period suckiness. I've shown more evdience to what we already knew, and numbers are one thing, but we all see how unenergetic the Wild get in the second period, and I just don't understand. TR said he doesn't know why the Wild suck so badly in the second period and perhaps there's no answer, but it's his job to light a fire under his players' asses and find the problem.

 

Middle panel: Second period vs. rest of the league.

Believe it or not, some teams are actually worse than the Wild in the second period. I don't have any shot totals sadly, but check this out:

- The Devils have scored a league low 16 goals in the second period. But of course 16 goals accounts for 34% of their goal output, so they haven't been scoring less, but they sure as hell have been allowing goals in the second. They allowed 37 goals in the second period vs. 20 in the 1st and 20 in the 3rd, for a grand total of 77 goals allowed... that's right... the DEVILS have allowed 77 goals so far. 37/77= 48%... ouch.

- Washington is tied with Minny in goals allowed in the second period and goals allowed total. Of course the Caps don't have the same goal-scoring troubles the Wild have, the second period being their best goal-scoring period at 34 out of 90 goals scored.

- Out of the 9 teams that have allowed more goals in the second than the Wild (NJ, NYR, EDM, ANA, PHX, BUF, NYI, COL, CGY) only the Coyotes have allowed less goals in total (the Sabres have allowed 73, like the Wild).

- The Wild have allowed 36.9% of their GA in the second period. Well, 9 teams have allowed a higher percentage their GA in the second period, the highest percentage belongs to the Devils. This doesn't mean very much though.

The Wild have scored 28.5% of their goals in the second period. Only Vancouver has a lower percentage at 24.3%. Of course, they scored a hell of a lot more goals in total than the Wild have.

- For GF - GA, the Wild are -9 (18 GF - 27 GA). Only the Devils (a GOD AWFUL -21) and the Rangers (-10) are worse than the Wild in that category. The Flyers lead the league at +15 and my hated Habs are right behind them at +11. 14 teams have a negative in that category. To put this more in perspective, the Wild are -9 in the second and -10 in total, which means the 1st period's +6 and the third period's -8 almost cancel each other out, as well as the 2 GF in OT and the 1 GA in OT.

- Out of all the teams that are in the minus for the second period, only 6 teams have minuses on all three periods (curiously enough, STL is one of those teams, and they're only -7 total, meaning they're low minuses... or is it high minuses?). Minny isn't one of those teams. Also, of the 14 teams that have a minus in the second period, only 3 teams can claim that it was their best period, judging by +/-.

Now, of course stats don't tell all the story, but I think it's safe to say that the Wild aren't the worst team in the NHL in second periods, but it's not very comforting to know that the only team we can truly say is doing worse than the Wild in the second period, which is the Devils (I've excluded the Rangers because even though they're -10, they still managed to score 3 second period goals against the Wild... oh, and because they have Gaby) are having an unimaginably rough year, with half of the roster injured and the other half being Kovy, who isn't doing ANYTHING.

- Fun stat: The Coyotes have scored and allowed 30 goals in the second period and they've scored and allowed 70 in total... spooky.

 

Final panel: Me vs. the second period

This is proof that not only does the second period curse apply to the Wild, it also applies to it's fans. I play goalie in a hockey-ball league at the U on thursdays and last time,  we were playing against a team that beat the living daylights out of us last year by some ridiculous double-digit to zero score. Well, this year it was quite different. In the first period, I was a man possessed, with some highlight reel saves including two toe saves and a great glove save on a breakaway. We ended the period with a 3-0 lead. In hockey ball, it's quite normal to see 20 goals in a single game, but it's extremely rare to get a shutout, so we got kind of excited. The second period.... was a friggin mess. I had a 5 minute long brain cramp in which I allowed 6 goals in as many shots. I was flabbergasted... yup. We still managed to end the period with a 7-6 lead and then came the third period, which I once again took over. I allowed a goal on the first shot of the 3rd, but then I close the door and cemented it. I made some key saves including a point blank glove save on a one timer and another breakaway save. We won the game 9-7. It was one of my best games ever and to put it in perspective, we probably scored on like 60% of our shots, but we were bombarded. We had no business winning that game, yet we did, but that second period was absolutely ugly. I couldn't believe it. My buddies all said the same thing: ''Yup, you're a true Wild fan!''

 

Punchline: It's great to have a day off, to... work on my writing...and check for stats.... for an entire afternoon... wow... I need a beer and some buddies.

 

Peace!

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