The Minnesota Wild finished their season series against the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday. Let’s look at the biggest takeaways against a potential playoff opponent.
The Minnesota Wild went 3-5 against the Avalanche this season and were outscored 31 to 25. Five out of the eight games were not close with one of the teams outscoring the other by 4+ goals. It was an action-packed series that could become an unbelievable playoff series if it were to happen.
1. Special Teams Were Fine, But Not Good Enough — The Wild’s powerplay went 8 for 29 in the season series. The powerplay is starting to heat up as 4 of those goals came in Tuesday night’s win. Before that, they struggled to convert against anyone including the Avalanche in the season series.
The Wild’s penalty kill stopped 27 of 35 allowing 8 goals total. That is not strong for one of the best penalty-killing teams in the league, but we will cut them some slack given the Avalanche have a potent powerplay and Foligno wasn’t present for the last four meetings.
The special teams weren’t bad, but they will need to improve against this team or it will be troublesome in the postseason if these teams play each other. Likewise, the team is taking way too many penalties which has to stop.
2. Getting Outshot, Badly — The Wild allowed 55 shots on March 18th against the Avalanche, and that game really summed up the series. The Avalanche had the higher shot share in seven of eight meetings and really tested the Wild’s goaltending tandem. The Avalanche registered 286 shots compared to the Wild’s 158 which is alarming. They need to shoot more, especially on the man advantage.
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3. Depth Was Huge — In the eight meetings against the Avalanche, the Wild scored 25 goals. Their depth was huge in this season series. Rask, Sturm, Foligno, Hartman, and Johnson. 10 of the 25 goals were from these players which is very surprising but is a testament to their strong depth and ability to roll all four lines at any given time. The opposite can be said too, aside from Tuesday’s win, the Wild’s top players haven’t shown up and scored enough against the Avalanche which is an issue when they are playing a potent offensive team.
4. Couldn’t Stop The Avs Offense — To be fair, the Avalanche are an unbelievable team and are one of the best teams in the league due to their incredible offense led by Nathan MacKinnon, the defense led by Cale Makar, and a decent goalie in Phillip Grubauer. With this being said, the Wild were exploited by the Avalanche’s top guns and depth alike. This just isn’t good enough from one of the best defensive teams in the league who are finally getting strong goaltending too.
5. Decent In The Faceoff Circle — The Wild are tied for second to last in faceoff percentage, but surprisingly weren’t horrible in the season series. They had the edge in the faceoff circle four out of eight meetings. This will be something to monitor as the Wild need to improve on the dot.