Well, let's get The Ugly out of the way: my lame-o, red-neck practically-north-of-the-cultural-divide-that-is-US-Highway-8 town doesn't carry NBCSN without paying the mafia of a cable company lots of money (ask me how I really feel).
In other words: I won't be watching a lot of playoff hockey from here on out. When I can, I'll try to make it to a bar or restaurant that has the game on, but in the barren wasteland that is Wisconsin, those are few and far between. Their all losing their minds about Aaron Rodgers and cheese over here (they've actually started using water that's had cheese soaked in it to de-ice the roads... I wish I was joking).
In any case, that being said, I'm going to take a look at some stats, both #fancy and non, and see what I see. Bear in mind through all of this: I didn't get to see the game. I listened on the radio, but I couldn't see anything. So don't expect gorgeous imagery detailing the shine of the ice as Kane.... well, let's just move on.
For my analysis, I'll be using www.extraskater.com
For this section, I'm looking at 5v5 Close statistics (statistics from when the score is within 1 goal or tied).
Not that I like starting with moral victories (then again, this is Minnesota), but dominate, Chicago did not. The 5-2 scoreline is imposing, but when you break it down to 5v5 Close, the Hawks only scored 1 goal. That's not bad for the reigning Champs. (now, the other 3 non-ENG goals are problematic). As far as CF%, the Wild were good for 51%, which is not great, but not bad either. We took a majority of the shots on the ice when both teams had 5 guys, and the score was within 1. If you take that a step further and look only at unblocked shots, or FF%, we move up to having taken 57.1%- not too shabby at all!
Enough with the numbers, what's that mean?
Well, basically, it means we are taking at least the same number of shots as the Hawks when the game is 5-on-5 and the score is within 1. It also means we, defensively speaking, aren't too far off the mark either- one goal on 15 unblocked shots (with 5 men on the ice and the score within 1) is not bad. It's not particularly GREAT, but it's not bad.
For this section, I'll be looking at shorthanded and PP numbers.
Unfortunately, we only spent 23.9 minutes on the ice at 5v5 with the score within 1 goal. We spent another 6.8 minutes on the ice shorthanded. In those 6.8 minutes, we were scored on twice. What's worse, despite our 6 minutes of having a man-advantage, we were unable to score. Indeed, in those 6 minutes, we only managed 11 Corsi Events, 9 of which were also Fenwick events (unblocked). You read that right: in 6 minutes of power play, we only managed 9 unblocked shots.
Now, fairness in savagery, We held the Blackhawks to the same number of Corsi Events in their 6.8 minutes of power play, and only 6 unblocked shots. However, within those 6 shots, there were 2 goals. Ouch.
Translate that, would you?
Oh sure. While we were on a power play, we only managed to get 9 shots around the defenders, and even then either Corey Crawford blocked them, or they missed completely. worse, while we were shorthanded, we gave up 2 goals on just 6 shots. Not good news.
What do I want to see:
It's very simple. It's not revolutionary (in fact I said it in my prediction). The Wild absolutely MUST stay out of the penalty box. The Blackhawk's PP is took good, and our PK is not good enough to be taking penalties. Secondly, our defense needs to be spot-on. We can't have breakdowns that lead to 2-on-1's or 2-on-0's. Those are two huge changes that will help.
From what everyone is saying.... I would love to see Jason Pominville actually put a puck ON net, that would be nice. Along those same lines, let's stop shooting into Crawford's pads, glove, and around him. Let's score points. Shots are good, Corsi events are good, Fenwick events are better. BUT... of our 60 Corsi events over the whole game, 50 were unblocked (so we had 50 Fenwick events). The issue next is, of those 50 unblocked shots, only 32 were on net. That's barely over half! We need to be putting more than 1/2 of our shots on net, and challenge Crawford. He's good, but so was Semyon Varlamov. He's beatable.
I would like to see our possession numbers stay strong and grow from here. Let's try to take 55 or 60 percent of the shots. Let's see our defense step up and help out our goalie. Bryz (or Darcy Kuemper, if he comes back) cannot stop all of the shots alone. He needs help from the defensive corps.
You can never guarantee wins, but if we can limit our penalties, keep possessing the puck, and help Ilya Bryzgalov as much as possible, we stand a chance to at least make this series interesting.