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The Predators made Jake Allen look just average leading to more depression over the Wild

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Chicago Blackhawks v Nashville Predators - Game Four Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

The Nashville Predators played about as good of game as you could against the St. Louis Blues. They used their speed, their size, and found ways through Jake Allen that the Wild never did (at least until Game 5). The jovial, and should-be face of the NHL, P.K. Subban had three points in the game and is just so fun to watch. The power play passing by the Predators was quick, purposeful, and it forced the penalty killers of the Blues to get loose. It’s just so depressing that it was the Predators and not the Wild.

Over the last few days, I’ve been working the “Five Stages of Grief” as written by Julie Axelrod. The denial leads to anger, anger leads to bargaining, and today, all of that confusion hits deep. We’ve hit depression.

Axelrod explains that depression after such loss is often a reactionary thing as well as even subtle.

The first one is a reaction to practical implications relating to the loss. Sadness and regret predominate this type of depression. We worry about the costs and burial. We worry that, in our grief, we have spent less time with others that depend on us.

I’ve been wracking my brain trying to dissect the series and make sense of the whole thing. Does this send the franchise into a period of missing the playoffs again? Does the General Manager overreact to the expansion draft, or that he gave up a first rounder and attempts to chase the trade like a bad beat at the Blackjack tables?

What if the Wild are unable to clear up enough cap space and can’t retain favorite players like Nino Niederreiter or Mikael Granlund? Both players had great seasons, are still young, and likely due some pretty good-sized raises. If the Wild doesn’t move some money out by making a deal with Vegas to take Marco Scandella, Jason Pominville, or even Jonas Brodin, the Wild could be forced to make a decision between a 26 goal, 69 point Granlund, or 25 goal, 57 point and possession monster Niederreiter. How does one choose????

Oh this depression has caused me to spend all this time away from friends. I’ve been quiet on Twitter. I haven’t corresponded with my writing staff. Work has taken a back seat. Hell, even school is an after thought. Friends and family are starting to worry.

But I’m here just worrying about the Wild.

How do they get someone like P.K. Subban, someone who has found a new level to his game in the playoffs? In a graphic by NHL Network, Subban is finding ways to get more points at a time when points are at a premium.

P.K. Subban Career Splits

Category Reg. Season Playoffs
Category Reg. Season Playoffs
Goals/Gm 0.15 0.2
Assists/Gm 0.49 0.52
Points/Gm 0.64 0.72
Shooting% 6 7.5

Subban is all fun, and a freaking NHL team ran him out of town.

Why couldn’t the Wild finish their chances like the Preds did in Game 1? Allen was beaten four times on 32 shots for a very sub-optimal .875 save percentage. Even in Game 5, Allen posted a .919 save percentage and the Wild scored the most goals in any game against him in that series. Minnesota had the amount of chances heavily in their favor. And sure as shit, the Preds make him look awfully average.

Typical, isn’t it?

How can the Wild sustain the regular season success, and carry it over into the playoffs? We’ve discussed that the biggest issue in the March swoon was Devan Dubnyk and he severe regression in save percentage. After leading the league in wins, goals against average, and save percentage, his March cost him to completely fall out of the Vezina running. But we’ve stated the necessity for a competent and reliable back-up going into next year. Having a decent back up to spell Dubnyk will not only keep number 40 fresh, it should help drive him with more competition. And for the team’s sake, when one starts to take on water, the other can come in and keep the boat afloat.

But even just past the goalie spot, there’s a lot of players that scored a lot over the regular season, but went cold as ice in the post season. The top ten point getters in the regular season for the Wild went as follows:

  1. Mikael Granlund, 69 points
  2. Eric Staal, 65 points
  3. Mikko Koivu, 58 points
  4. Nino Niederrieter, 57 points
  5. Charlie Coyle, 56 points
  6. Jason Pominville, 47 points
  7. Jason Zucker, 47 points
  8. Zach Parise, 42 points
  9. Ryan Suter, 40 points
  10. Jared Spurgeon, 38 points

Those 10 players combined for 519 points in 719 combined games. In the playoffs, those same 10 players combined for just 17 points in 50 combined games. That’s a .723 points percentage in the regular season dropping to a .340 points percentage in the playoffs. This team has guys that can score goals, but those goal scorers disappearing made for more stress and sadness than joy and jubilation.

So, while we try to digest the loss, and watch the rest of the playoffs within a dark cloud of emotion and despair, know that this stage will too pass. It may take a hug, or some reassurance to help keep your spirit up. And don’t be surprised if the depression return afters you see a moment that reminds you of the loss and the love you felt for this team. No loss is easy to get over. The pain will eventually subside. Hopefully knowing that we here at Hockey Wilderness are feeling those same feeling with you, and can offer the reassurance that this team will be back again soon enough, is enough to keep you going.