Games this week:
On the road again. A trip to the west gets 3 games in 4 days. Don't expect a lot of power-play goals on this trip, it features four teams at the bottom of the league in power play goal rates. Minnesota (24th), Arizona (29th), Vegas (31st), and Seattle (32nd).
Arizona is truly terrible, they just got their first win of the season last week. Any points dropped to the Coyotes would be a missed opportunity.
Vegas is really banged up, playing without Marc Stone or Pacioretty or new acquisition Jack Eichel. This is a good time to run into the Golden Knights.
Seattle has struggled ever since they dominated the Wild a couple weeks ago, but are probably the best 5-on-5 possession team of the three the Wild will face on this trip.
Games Last Week:
|Whitecaps Game 1 - Falling behind 6-1 to Boston is probably not exactly how they drew up the season opener. They would rally to score some goals late in the third and lose 6-4.
Allie Thunstrom had two goals and an assist, plus 8 shots on goal to lead the Whitecaps.
Taylor Turnquist had two assists.
|Whitecaps Game 2 - A much tighter game, but still a loss. This time Minnesota fell 1-0 to Boston in a goalie battle. The Whitecaps were pretty handily outshot, but hung in there pretty well.|
|Game 9: Except for a lull in the second period and a bad challenge by Evason that lead to a Senators power-play goal, this was a good win for the Wild.
Kaprizov scored a goal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He got the OT winner, and a huge monkey off his back.
|Game 10: Another comeback. Down by two with 5 minutes to go, the Wild scored twice to tie, including Hartman scoring with less than 3 seconds on the clock to tie the game. This team is really good when they're 5-on-5, they are amazing when they are 6-on-5, but put them 5-on-4 and they are just ... nothing. I don't get it.
Adam Beckman got his first career point, an assist on the game-tying goal.
Bjugstad got the shootout winner, Kaprizov and Fiala also scored in the shootout.
|Game 11: The triumphant return of Victor Rask! Also, Zuccarello and Pitlick came back from the COVID list. From the long list of injuries/illnesses last week, only Jordan Greenway remains inactive, but it sounds like he'll be returning soon.
Pretty good game for the Wild, highlighted by a truly dominant third period where they scored 4 goals (2 of them into the empty net) to avoid any need for last second magic.
Duhaime, Bjugstad, Ek got goals.
- Best news of the week was probably Kaprizov getting 2 goals in three games. A close second was that Kaapo Kahkonen looked pretty solid in the win over the Islanders. Goaltending continues to be a concern, but a stable Kahkonen goes a long way to avoiding it becoming a disaster.
- The Wild have the highest xGF% in the NHL at 5-on-5 this year. If they ever get their special teams sorted out and clicking they will be a steamroller of a team.
- Defense is the new offense. Matt Dumba leads the team in points, and the Wild D have 8 goals and 24 assists in 11 games (0.73 GPG, 2.9 PPG). That's way ahead of their pace last year (0.5 GPG, 2.1 PPG).
- Alyssa Longmuir had the Whitecaps a step behind Boston in her pre-season PHF rankings, and it seems like that was pretty well borne out. Tough to open on the road against the consensus best team in the league.
Outstanding effort by Fiala to feed Kaprizov for the OT winner pic.twitter.com/Oz8rlDif3f
— Internet #BlackLivesMatter (@cjzero) November 3, 2021
Standings and Stats
|CENTRAL||Games||Pts||PTS%||EV xG%||EV Corsi||EV Sh%||EV Sv%||PPG/60||PKGA/60|
I'm putting this up before Winnipeg plays St. Louis on Tuesday so that the Wild can be on top of the division.