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The Progression of Regression

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Despite a 4-game skid and having developed an allergy to scoring, all is not lost for the Wild.

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

A few weeks ago, I wrote an article about how the Wild were posting some unsustainable numbers, but it didn't spell doom for the Wild.

Boy, was I wrong! Right???

Well... kinda. In that article, I pointed out that the team's PDO, On-Ice Sv%, and On-Ice Sh% were all high. They have dropped. Somewhat.

All Stats @ 5v5 Close

PDO

On-Ice Sv%

On-Ice Sh%

Through Oct. 30

104.02

94.05%

9.96%

Since Oct. 30

89.75

86.05%

3.7%

Obviously all of these are subject to extremely small sample sizes, and that comes with a lot of problems. Namely: small sample sizes are unlikely to truly represent the truth. In other words: Neither of these is the true 2014-15 Minnesota Wild.

That said: OUCH. Those numbers are BRUTALLY low.

Time Will Tell

Over time- long periods of time-  PDO will (over long periods of time) regress towards 100. Sv% will (over time) trend towards 92 (give or take), and Sh% will end up somewhere between 8 and 9.5 (ish).

Within each statistic, there is some amount of give-and-take depending on the skill of the team involved. Some teams, whether because of talent or gameplan, will have  higher Sh% and/or higher Sv%. What's important to remember is: one season of data isn't enough to truly determine a player or team's skill; one month or a single four-game stretch is such a small sample size that it's silly to draw conclusions for the long-term.

These numbers do, however, tell us about the Wild's play since October 30. The Wild have, for whatever reason, not been able to put the puck in the net, and they haven't been able to stop the puck. Pretty much anyone has been able to see that- but let's talk about:

Why

There are a few reasonings in sport which, though true, are wholly unsatisfying. "We lost because the refs made a bunch of bad calls." "We're just not getting the bounces." "The other team was simply better." These lines of thought do very little to create closure, and they are among the single most frustrating for a fanbase or team.

Often the comeback from these is something along the lines of "it's on the players to win, no matter what." While that feels good to say, and while it would be great to see teams overcome all odds to defeat an opponent, it just isn't realistic. If one team is getting calls in their favor- whether by poor reffing or because they are sneaky- they are more likely to win. Sometimes the puck just doesn't bounce quite right; sometimes it rings off the crossbar, sometimes it ping-pongs between the goalie and the crossbar, and sometimes it bounces just wrong off your pad and slides in.

The point here is: the Wild haven't magically forgotten how to score. Kuemper hasn't suddenly forgotten how to play his position. The team was having some good luck at the beginning of the season, and now they're having some bad luck; it happens.

Moving Forward

This isn't to say that all is hunky-dory in Wild-land. Certainly there have been issues, and issues that need fixing. Of course there are problems- Matt Dumba either needs time in Iowa, or his teammates need to adjust to covering for some of his risk taking (probably both). Vanek and his linemates need to figure each other out. The powerplay needs some work.

Just as we were told to be cautious as the Wild were steamrolling opponents, and that there were bounces going our way, we can't overreact now. Things aren't as bad as they seem, and the Wild- as much as it's frustrating to say it- simply are having some bad luck. True randomness is far more streaky than people imagine, and it's far from unheard of for a hockey club or player to have trouble scoring goals- just ask Crosby last post-season, or the St. Louis Blues at the end of last year.

The bright side really isn't that hard to find. The bad luck the Wild are having scoring goals and stopping the other team from doing so, but they have played very well from a possession point of view. The Wild have out-shot and out-Corsi'd almost every opponent, even when losing. This is a good sign, as Corsi is a pretty decent predictor of future success.

Ultimately, these numbers will go the other way. The pendulum will swing, things will average out... pick your cliche. That's not a "sexy" take, and it's not anything groundbreaking, but it's the truth.

So, chin up, Wilderness; thing will turn around, and this poor stretch of play will even out.