Despite the Minnesota Wild going down 5-2 away to the Vancouver Canucks, Nino Niederreiter showed some positive signs of finally getting it going this season.
Across the course of the game, Nino Niederreiter put up 3 shots on net for the Minnesota Wild, among other stat-lines.
This, from a player that has had his struggles in the early going this season. Despite their impressive five-game form coming into tonight, Nino Niederreiter had very much been a player on the periphery.
Last night, as the Minnesota Wild lost, he actually looked to be improving his own personal form. He finished the night with a team best 51.92% Corsi For; meaning the team was on the positive side of shot attempts with him on the ice.
This was however achieved whilst rocking a 55.8ZS%, meaning he started more often in the offensive zone.
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Granted, that makes it easier to limit shot attempts and retain possession, but it could also be an insight into Minnesota Wild coach Bruce Boudreau‘s thinking right now.
The zone starts could well be his way to try to get Nino Niederreiter going.
Other stat lines that stand out are obviously his ice time being at a high since near-on opening weekend, seeing 16:35.
This is skewed though by 05:10 of that being power-play time. There’s probably not much to read into that as it was a rather penalty-heavy night.
In general though, to the eye-test Nino looked a little more relaxed tonight, as evidenced by the fact he was actually willing to put some shots on net.
If he’s going to get going this season, he needs a couple more solid nights like this one. Nothing crazy, draw a penalty or two, have some shots, just play smart hockey.
The rewards will eventually come both for the Minnesota Wild and for Nino Niederreiter himself.
His 0.27 points per game are down on every season of NHL hockey he’s played, with a figure more around 0.5 points per game being more routine for him.
That’s the sort of form he needs to find and last night, I think we may have seen the first hint that he’s going to break his scoring drought soon.
Statistics courtesy of Dobber Sports.