Hawks vs. Wild: A Cursory Glance

Hannah Foslien

I take a glance at our games against the Hawks this season

The Wild played against the Blackhawks 5 times this year. Our record against the defending champs was: 3-1-1. That's the good news: we beat them in regulation three games of the five, lost in regulation in one of the five, and lost in shootout in one.

Here are a few other statistics the Wild garnered in their games against Chicago:

Game: CF% FF% Sh%
10/26 (W) 33.8 35.2 22.2
10/28 (L) 48.9 48.4 4
12/5 (W) 48.5 51.1 10.5
1/23 (W) 35.8 36.7 13.3
4/3 (SOL) 51.1 51.6 8.7
Avg: 43.54 44.6 11.74

Things that make me feel good:

There are a few decent performances there: the games on 10/28, 12/5, and 4/3 in particular have at least decent possession numbers. It's also nice that our FF% are higher (for the most part) than our CF%. We are getting a slightly higher percentage of unblocked shots than all shots overall. Our averages are not impressive, but nor are they completely dismal.

Things that make me feel bad:

Yikes.... remember the games that we had decent numbers? we lost 2 out of the 3 (granted, one in the shootout). Somehow, we managed to win 2 games with lower CF% than Avs this postseason. Our chances of winning games with these possession numbers is not good.

Other factors:

While they do not have a direct effect on possession numbers, I still think it's relevant at least to remember that only one goalie has only seen the Hawks twice this regular season: The games on 10/26 and 10/28 were Backstrom, 12/5 was Harding, 1/23 was Kuemper, and 4/3 was Bryzgalov. I don't know if this will have any effect, but it can only help the Wild that the Hawks have only played our goalie once at most.

Final thoughts:

All this said: I still think the Wild are a different team now. They no longer lack confidence, and they know that they can play with some of the best teams in the league: just look at their schedule at the end of the season. The old cliche is that "the playoffs are a new season," and in this case, I think it holds true. If we're lucky, the Wild catch the Hawks off guard and can keep rolling. I (despite being a lifelong Minnesota fan) have a good feeling about this match-up. We've played well against the Hawks this season, and we've only gotten better since early April when we last met.

Either way, here's hoping for a fun, competitive, and generally great season.

All statistics are 5v5 via www.extraskater.com

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