Last night's game against the Blues is one of those where you just have to accept and move on. The Wild deserved two points for their play but only got one. It's the NHL, these kinds of things happen.
While the result is unfortunate, it's encouraging to see the Wild play such solid hockey against one of the league's best. The Blues may have had an off night, but that didn't stop the Wild from pounding Jake Allen with constant pressure. It was a good response after getting outplayed by Dallas the night before.
Getting 38 shots on goal against a tough St. Louis defense is quite an accomplishment. As you can see in the chart below, the Wild really took control in the second period. The Blues had a push back in the third but the Wild didn't sit back like they usually do and kept up the pressure.
For the second straight night, the Wild were led by their top line of Parise, Granlund and Pominville. After struggling to produce offense a few games back, this line has really found their grove once more. When the top line clicks, it allows the other forwards to build off their momentum and creates a balanced attack.
Overall, it was a great effort by the entire team. Thomas Vanek had his second good game in a row, creating offensive chances and actually playing with some energy in the defensive zone. If there is a weak spot, it's still the third pairing. Keith Ballard and Nate Prosser played less than ten minutes, but the Blues were able to take advantage of the pair. It's a weakness that good teams will be able to expose.
Here's an update chart of each player's Corsi numbers through last night's game:
Things are still looking up for individuals. One player to highlight is Justin Fontaine, who is putting up a 55.2% Corsi For Percentage while only getting 42.9% Offensive Zone Starts. He's played sound defense and has contributed on the score sheet. Mike Yeo should never scratch him for Bickel again.
Vanek's numbers still look pretty bad especially since he's getting great zone starts, but he is improving. His last five games have been some of his best. The return of Jonas Brodin to lineup is huge for this team. In fourteen games, he leads the team in Corsi percentage.
Wild Three Stars of the Game
1. Zach Parise- Scored a crucial power play goal and had nine shots.
2. Jonas Brodin- Looked like his usual self in his second game back and drove the play with Ryan Suter.
3. Mikko Koivu- Had four shots, a goal, and went 65% in the faceoff dot.