The Wild finished their brief road trip with a win in South Florida over the Panthers. It's hard to call Florida an "elite" team by any means, but a win is a win in the NHL and the Wild played an overall solid game for the first time in a while. In fact, last night's game was the first time the Wild out-possessed their opponent since the Buffalo game on November 13th.
Let's take a look at the stats:
Pretty basic stuff here. The Wild controlled play for almost the entire game with the exception of a few stretches late in the third. The power play is still a struggle, but in the end it didn't matter. Here's the shot attempt chart from War-on-Ice:
A lot of good performances here. The Haula/Niederreiter/Coyle combo drove play all night and had a strong forecheck that really irritated Florida defenders. Jason Zucker and Mikko Koivu reunited and combined for two beautiful goals. Thomas Vanek was less visible on that line, but he still had a few nice set up passes and worked hard in the offensive zone.
The top line of Parise/Granlund/Pominville also had a decent night offensively, putting up 9 shots on goal. They also got stuck in their defensive zone a few times, as did the fourth line. There's not much to complain about, apart from the fact that Haula's line only got about 14 minutes of ice time.
Defensively, Ryan Suter and Jared Spurgeon had their usual great game, going +3 and playing over 27 minutes. Nate Prosser surprisingly had an above average game, putting up a 60% Corsi For with some unfavorable zone starts. Keith Ballard is still struggling to find any consistency. It will be nice when Jonas Brodin returns from sickness.
Holy Nino. He now leads all forwards this season with a Corsi For percentage of 57.3. That's also with starting in the offensive zone only 44.6% of the time. In contrast, Jason Pominville puts up similar numbers but starts in the offensive zone 64.7% of the time. Mike Yeo needs to find a way to get Nino more minutes.
Erik Haula's also having a quietly good year. He may not be scoring like many want him to, but he is driving possession and playing a great shutdown role. If there's a complaint, it's that he needs to shoot the puck a bit more.
Wild Three Stars of the Game
1. Jason Zucker- No brainer here. Nine shots on goal and scored on two of them.
2. Mikko Koivu- His first multi-point of the year and looked great playing with Zucker.
3. Nino Niederreiter- Had a beauty of a goal, and probably could have had about four more.