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Niederreiter's absence in crunch time versus Blackhawks was puzzling at best

Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

Nino Niederreiter has arguably been the best player on the ice for the Wild during the month of March. In a month that came in like a lamb, Nino has been the Lion. Scoring six goals and adding four assists in just 10 games so far this month, Niederreiter has been everything the Wild could ever want.

But that's only the start of it. A deeper look at underlying numbers says he's been supporting this run the right way. He has been the team's best Corsi For relative to the team with an 8.83% mark. An out-of-this-world shooting percentage of 26.1 percent, may be crazy if he was shooting from outside the Home Plate area of the offensive zone, but he's crashing the net and benefiting from the havoc he's creating. Despite seeing 50 percent or less of the 5-on-5 zone starts in the defensive zone, Nino has put up some impressive numbers to say the least.

So why wasn't he on the ice for crunch time against the Chicago Blackhawks? That's right, Niederreiter, arguably having the best month of his career in Minnesota, and maybe the best month of March for the entire Minnesota Wild team saw only 5:48 of ice time in the third period. Add on the 36 seconds of ice time in the 3-on-3 overtime session, and Niederreiter only saw 6:24 of his 15:21 total time on ice come after the first 40 minutes.

That 5:48 took a backseat to a struggling Zach Parise, a Mikko Koivu (who admittedly will get more time because of his faceoff prowess), Mikael Granlund, who was only better than Jarret Stoll's 38% in the dots, and Jason Zucker. But what did he do with that time? Just a ho-hum four scoring chances for to only one scoring chance allowed. And during the 36 seconds he saw on overtime, he only set up Erik Haula with a long stretch pass to give the Wild it's single best chance to win the game in OT.

It was odd to not see Niederreiter on the ice during the most meaningful minutes of the game after knowing the kind of 10 game run he's been having.

We are too, Adam. We are too.