Weekly Wild Whangdoodle: Week 4

This week's schedule:

Let's play the Avalanche again!

Last week's results:

MIN 1 - LA 2 - Highlights

The Kings are better than everyone thought, at least right now, but the Wild have to find a way to score that's in addition to Jordan Greenway digging the puck out of the corner and getting the puck to noted goal-scorer Joel Eriksson Ek. After this game, JEE was tied for 10th in the NHL in goals scored this season,

Russo had a column on The Athletic that hammered the Wild's current center situation. He doesn't see Rask, or Johansson, or Bonino, or Bjugstad as the answer, and right now it's hard to see how they will improve this pretty glaring hole.

The power play was 0 for 3 in this one and has dropped to 2 for 30 on the season (6.7% was 29th out of 31 in the NHL)

MIN 5 - LA 3 - Highlights

Look at that offense! Johansson, Kaprizov, Bjugstad, Fiala and (of course) Eriksson Ek scored. (JEE leaderboard update - only five players in the entire NHL had scored more goals  as of Friday morning).

The near self destruction in the second period (11 penalty minutes in 14 minutes of game play) almost ruined an incredibly dominant performance by the Wild.  Any time they were 5 on 5 against LA, they were in control of the game.

The power play was 0 for 4 in this one and has dropped to 2 for 34 on the season (5.9% was 30th out of 31 in the NHL)

MIN 1 - COL 5 - Highlights

I didn't pay attention to this one and you shouldn't have either.  Not great.

The power play was 0 for 2 in this one and has dropped to 2 for 36 on the season (5.6% was 30th out of 31 in the NHL)

MIN 4 - COL 3 - OT - Highlights

Victor Rask will save us all. His two goals in this one kept the Wild in it, and then Greenway and Eriksson Ek set up Jonas Brodin for the winner 18 seconds into overtime. Everyone (I mean, everyone) knows that the Wild just won't find consistent success with this set of centers, but hey, it got them 2 points and a split of their first two games with Colorado, so I guess we keep letting it ride.

Colorado somehow shut down the goal scoring machine that is Joel Eriksson Ek for two games. It's only a matter of time though, until he's back on the scoresheet.

The power play was 0 for 3 in this one and has dropped to 2 for 39 on the season (5.1% is 31st out of 31 in the NHL - they did it!)

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The Wild are halfway through their season series with LA and have 6 points in 4 games.  Do that again in the second half of the season series and I think that's a good pace.

The Wild have split every two-game set except the first one, which is enough for them to be one point out of first place in the West division.  In reality, Vegas has played 3 fewer games than Minnesota and is still only one point behind, so if we assume Vegas would win one of those three games in hand, the Wild are in fourth in the division, behind Vegas, Colorado, and St. Louis.  Raise your hand if you're surprised?  Yeah, me neither.

The Kirill Kaprizov Corner

Kaprizov leads all NHL rookies in total points and assists (2G - 6A - 8Pts).

He is averaging the most ice time per game among rookie forwards by a full two minutes, so he's playing a bunch and he's been so good. Evolving Hockey has him at 3.4 GAR (Goals above Replacement) after 10 games, which easily above an MVP level pace (Small Sample Size caveats apply).

From Russo after Tuesday's game:

It’s unbelievable how many chances Kaprizov has set up for his teammates that they haven’t finished. Look at his pass in the first period Tuesday that Bonino wasn’t ready for. Look at his backdoor pass to Johansson in the third period Sunday that should have been a tap-in, go-ahead goal.

At some point, Kaprizov has probably just got to get more selfish and do it himself. He had no shots on goal against the Kings and ranks eighth on the team with 12 shots in seven games.

Players not Named Kirill

  • I don't know what to say about Victor Rask. If he's the guy that capitalizes on Kaprizov's passes, then that's a really good thing and I hope it continues and he has a 20 goal season.
  • Joel Eriksson Ek is three goals away from his career high.
  • We're probably going to have to talk about Jordan Greenway and his point per game pace at some point, aren't we?
  • Cam Talbot came back from his injury for Sunday's win. Minnesota's team 5-on-5 FancyStat numbers are really good:
    • 10th in expected goals
    • 8th in actual goals/60 minutes
    • 3rd in expected goals against,
    • 24th(!) in actual goals against/60 minutes
  • So that's a little worrisome on the goaltending front. Kahkonen has been below average and Talbot has been a little better. Average goaltending would be really nice, so let's hope for that.

COVID news

  • Foligno had a positive Covid test on Sunday, so now we enter the seriously not fun part where we wait and wonder if this is a single case or the start of an outbreak through the team.
  • Marco Rossi (Last year's first round draft pick) went back to Austria to recover from long-term Covid complications. He will not play this season.

Leaderboards

PlayerGPlayerAPlayerPts
Eriksson Ek5Greenway8Greenway10
Fiala3Suter6Eriksson Ek9
Rask3Kaprizov6Kaprizov8
Dumba3Brodin4Suter6
6 players tied2Eriksson Ek4Brodin6

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