As Alec wrote about yesterday, the Wild have a tendency to sit back on their leads. It happened again last night against Montreal and it nearly cost the game. It'd be easy to criticize the team for a couple of bad stretches in the third period or the still horrific power play, but the truth is that the Wild dominated this game early on and did enough to deserve the win.
Montreal may not be elite like some seem to think, but they are still an above average team with solid players. The Wild made them look like the Sabres for two periods of play. Let's look at the stats:
Everything looks pretty great until that steep incline for Montreal in the third. Despite that, the Wild still finished with a 60 % Fenwick For percentage. Their score adjusted Fenwick percentage will most likely be very high.
It's a bit odd to see the top line have such low possession numbers. I don't think it's quite indicative of their night. It obviously wasn't their best game, but they did have a few really good scoring chances. They got caught in the defensive zone a few times in the third period.
The fourth line had a great night in limited minutes. It's a huge asset to this team to have three guys that can play the toughest minutes and still produce offense. Justin Fontaine and Erik Haula are not scoring goals like they did last year, but they are playing great defensively.
The blue line played a nice game despite missing Ryan Suter. Brodin, Scandella and Spurgeon all played over 25 minutes and Christian Folin over 16 in his first game back. The third pairing of Ballard and Prosser continues to be a problem.
Updated Possession Stats
Wild Three Stars of the Game
1. Jonas Brodin- Took over for Ryan Suter and was a plus-2. He's really stepped up his game this year.
2. Jason Zucker- His goal may have been a fluke, but JZ was buzzing all night and had five shots.
3. Darcy Kuemper- He only faced 19 shots but came up big when he needed to in the third period.