The goal of these posts is to offer some insight on the last game using stats and analysis. Stats never tell the full story of a game, but they can be used as an additional tool to evaluate a team's performance. That being said, yesterday's matchup against the Winnipeg Jets can be summarized by one word: penalties.
The two teams played only 36 and a half minutes at even strength, with less than ten minutes played when the score was close. With that in mind, it's not particularly useful to read too deeply into the stats below. The basic narrative for the game was this: The Wild dominated play at even strength close situations, both teams took a ton of penalties and Winnipeg was able to take control of the game in the third as the Wild sat back defensively.
The shot attempt chart from War-On-Ice.com is hilariously colorful:
Again, it's kind of a lopsided chart because of the abnormal game situations. The new top line with a newly returned Zach Parise, Mikko Koivu and Jason Pominville clicked early and often. It's hard to really evaluate other lines since penalties prevented many players from getting their usual minutes. Charlie Coyle only had three shifts in the second period and finished with less than ten minutes of total ice time.
In fact, five players finished with less than ten minutes of ice time. Compare that to the Buffalo game last Thursday, where everyone eclipsed that mark with the exception of Ryan Carter.
Now that we're 17 games in, we can start to get a better sense of where players are in terms of possession numbers. The chart below includes players who have played at least six games. Overall these are some pretty impressive numbers.
And just for fun, here are the faceoff stats through 17 games:
Mikko Koivu has been dominant in almost every game. There's a little bit of concern with Erik Haula and Mikael Granlund, who have struggled to win draws consistently.
Wild Three Stars of the Game
1. Zach Parise- Returned from injury with two goals and nearly had a third.
2. Marco Scandella- Also returning after missing games, Scandella didn't seem to lose a step and scored the game winner.
3. Wild PK- The team killed eight Winnipeg power plays, including two brief 5-on-3's. The unit is now second in the NHL to only Chicago.