Weekly Wild Whangdoodle: Week 2

This week's schedule:

More California teams, and the home opener on Friday.  Home games against the probable bottom half of the division are ones where the Wild need to get points and here are the first two in that category this season.

So far this season, Anaheim has lost two games to Vegas (one in OT) while San Jose split with Arizona.

Last week's results:

MIN 4 - LA 3 (OT) - Highlights

MIN 4 - LA 3 (OT) - Highlights

The Wild schedule has them playing in the pacific time zone for a pretty significant portion of their schedule, so naturally they wait until the absolute latest hour to make things interesting. Two games in a row the Kings had a two-goal lead (the most dangerous lead in hockey!) going into the third period, and two games in a row the Wild came back to tie, and then win in overtime. Requiring dramatic comebacks to beat Los Angeles isn't the most heartening thing, but also, hey they're 2-0 and adding points to their standings total, and you have to take the good with the bad.

Looking at some of the advanced stats (from Evolving Hockey), the Wild played better than the Kings across the two games, pretty handily winning at 5-on-5.

TEAM CORSI% FEN% xGF
Wild53.651.33.9
Kings46.448.72.1

Special teams was a little bit worse.  The Kings scored two goals in 4 on 4 situations and added a power play tally.  The Wild scored all 6 of their regulation goals during 5-on-5 play (they went 0 for 11 on the power play). So perhaps it mostly came down the Wild being the better team that couldn't find the net on special teams.  That feels a little better, right?

The weirdest thing from the small sample size of two games is how much of the Wild's scoring has come from the defense. Suter, Brodin, and Dumba all scored goals, and the Wild have four defensemen with multiple points.  Greenway is the only forward with more than a single point so far.

...

Oh yeah, and Kaprizov, who has 4 points (1G, 3A).

The Kirill Kaprizov Corner

We do love our alliteration here at the WWW.

Kaprizov really didn't waste any time grabbing every Wild internet commenter's attention in his first NHL season. Three points in his debut, including the overtime winner, then after a shaky couple periods in game 2, he dazzled again in overtime and set up Johansson's game winning goal. He's the thing that everyone who is talking about the Wild is talking about after 2 games and it's kind of out of character to see Wild fans be incredibly positive about ... well, anything.

Players not Named Kirill

  • All that said, it might be Joel Eriksson Ek who actually had the best first couple games.  He was second on the Wild in individual expected goals, drew the most opponent penalties, and played the most minutes of any forward on the penalty kill. JEE started only 3% of his shifts in the offensive zone, which is par for the course for the Wild's third line, but he made a pretty outsized impact on the games from that position.  Plus he scored a goal! (Which I totally believed he was capable of doing. Ask anyone.)
  • Cam Talbot was unlucky but OK in the first two games I think.  A save percentage of 91% isn't too exciting in either direction, but it seems like he gave up a lot of rebound goals where he just didn't find the puck after the initial shot. His expected save percentage is pretty much right on his actual for those two games, so in that small sample, it's an improvement over what the Wild have had in the past.
Shots AgainstGoals AgainstFenwick AgainstSV%FenwickSV%Reb per 100SV
Talbot67687.910.9317.2
Expected5.9.911.9323.8
  • Fiala had no points in two games (but took 13 shots, most on the team).
  • Parise had one assist.
  • I don't believe that Victor Rask will stick as the center between Parise and Kaprizov.

Leaderboards

PlayerGPlayerAPlayerPts
8 players tied 1Kaprizov3Kaprizov4
Suter2Suter3
Greenway2Greenway2
Pateryn2Pateryn2
Brodin2
Dumba2

20 thoughts on “Weekly Wild Whangdoodle: Week 2”

  1. Sean McIndoe pretty much sums up how small sample size works.

    There’s a bigger question with the Kings, and it’s one we have to muddle through for a few of these teams: Do the first few games tell us more about them or their opponents? Maybe the Kings are a bottom-feeder that can’t even beat a middling team like the Wild on home ice when you spot them two goals. But maybe the Wild aren’t middling after all, and the Kings deserve credit for picking up points against them.

    To which we can say ... well, yeah, that's the question isn't it?

  2. I'm having to relearn how to say Kaprizov after not knowing it is a long 'i' and I also didn't notice the first 'i' in his first name.

    My oldest son showed me post-game video of a mic'd up Dumba going crazy after Kaprizov won the game in OT. I will be hearing him say "dolla dolla bill Kirill" a lot in the near future.

  3. The Wild traded Greg Pateryn to the Avalnche for Ian Cole. A swap of defensemen that neither team seems super excited about? I ... don't know how much there is to say about this trade. I think Ian Cole is probably better than Pateryn, but not by a lot and will play in the third pairing/penalty kill much like Pateryn did.

    Cole has one year left in his deal and so may be a veteran defenseman someone else is willing to trade for at the deadline?

  4. Last Saturday I pointed out to DK that Eriksson Ek was probably the Wild's best center, but he just can't score.

    Yeah, he's got 3 goals since then, including one tonight.

    That's the top-notch analysis that keeps people coming back to the Whangdoodle.

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