Blues Lead Series 1-0
1.00 Goals For Per Game (11th in the NHL Playoffs)
2.00 Goals Against Per Game (8th in the NHL Playoffs)
0% Power Play (8th in the NHL Playoffs)
100% Penalty Kill (1st in the NHL Playoffs)
Top 3 Scorers:
1. #11 Zach Parise ~ 1G 0A = 1pt
2. #9 Mikko Koivu ~ 0G 1A = 1pt
3. #64 Mikael Granlund ~ 0G 1A = 1pt
Top 3 PIM’s:
1. #20 Ryan Suter ~ 4 PIM’s
2. #5 Christian Folin ~ 2 PIM’s
3. #11 Zach Parise ~ 2 PIM’s
1. #40 Devan Dubnyk (0-1) 1.56GAA .923%SP
2. #35 Darcy Kuemper N/A
St. Louis Blues
2.00 Goals For Per Game (9th in the NHL Playoffs)
1.00 Goals Against Per Game (5th in the NHL Playoffs)
0% Power Play (14th in the NHL Playoffs)
100% Penalty Kill (7th in the NHL Playoffs)
Top 5 Scorers:
1. #71 Vladimir Sobotka ~ 1G 0A = 1pt
2. #6 Joel Edmundson ~ 1G 0A = 1pt
3. #91 Vladimir Tarasenko ~ 0G 1A = 1pt
4. #17 Jaden Schwartz ~ 0G 1A = 1pt
5. #20 Alex Steen ~ 0G 1A = 1pt
Top 3 PIM’s:
1. #27 Alex Pietrangelo ~ 2 PIM’s
2. #75 Ryan Reaves ~ 2 PIM’s
3. #21 Patrik Berglund ~ 2 PIM’s
1. #34 Jake Allen (1-0) .77GAA .981%SP
2. #40 Carter Hutton N/A
St. Louis Blues
When you were a young child (we’re talking prior to kindergarten), did you fight your parents and babysitter when it came to naps as well as your bedtime? I guess as children, we didn’t want to miss any part of life that was going on around us. When we were made to take a nap or go to bed for the night, we were worried that we might miss something terribly exciting or fun. My own parents learned early on, that it made far more sense to put us to sleep only when we could barely keep our eyes open. It was foolish of them to make us go to bed when we were still wide awake, as they would spend far more time trying to make us go to sleep rather than put us to bed when we were ready. Now mind you, this practice was only valid before we started school. Now that we’re adults, we only wish we could squeeze in a 10 minute nap most days. Depending on my work schedule, I’ve had days where I take a nap during my lunch break. Yes, we’ve all had days where sleep is more important than food, and looking ahead to my new schedule coming out next month, I will get to do just that.
So I was looking at Twitter today, and coming across my feed was an infographic, talking about the ice time of the Minnesota Wild’s defensemen in the Game #1. Posted by Aaron Sickman, the Wild’s Media Relations Director, he asked if anyone needed a nap. And looking at the graphic, I felt like I needed a nap. First off, Matt Dumba logged his career playoff high ice time of 29:58. So one defenseman whose ice time is almost half of regulation (and yes, I am well aware there was overtime on Wednesday night). Next, we have Marco Scandella who spent 26:41 on ice. For Scandella, this also was a career playoff high. Of the Wild’s defensemen this season, these are not two individuals I really want to see logging that much time. They’ve been liabilities off and on this season, so I am not comfortable. Then of course there’s Father Time, otherwise known as Ryan Suter who spent 34:32 on ice. The crazy part though when it comes to Suter, that wasn’t even his high. In his playoff career, it was his third highest TOI and is the fourth highest in franchise history. In second and third place for the franchise respectively are Filip Kuba (36:17) and Willie Mitchell (35:09). For both Kuba and Mitchell, they logged those times in the same playoff game, in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals against Anaheim in 2003. For almost ten years, Kuba’s record stood. That was broken in 2013 by Suter, which still stands as the franchise record for time on ice in the playoffs. In Game 1 in Chicago, Suter logged a staggering 41:08. Yes, you read that correctly. So yes, looking at those numbers, naps are in order.
So I pulled up the other Wild defensemen’s numbers for Game 1. Also logging high ice time, albeit not a personal high, was Jared Spurgeon. He spent 28:43 on ice. This was the third highest for Wild defensemen Wednesday night. I’ll admit I’m not the biggest fan of Spurgeon, but I wish he had gotten more of Dumba’s time on ice. For his diminutive size for a defenseman, I trust him much more than I do Dumba or Scandella right now. I realize there are only six defensemen dressed for a game, but when I see four guys with that much time, I have to ask where the other two guys are. Those two guys are Jonas Brodin and Christian Folin. Wednesday night, Brodin spent 22:14 on ice, which is respectable for a defenseman. However, Folin only had 11:04 for time on ice. Really, you’re telling me that it makes sense to have three defensemen with almost 30 minutes in ice time and one with over 30 minutes when you one with just over twenty-two minutes and another with just over 11? This is how defensemen get injured. This is how they get caught out of position. You overplay a guy (or four in the Wild’s case) and they get extremely tired. The Wild’s options for alternate defensemen are limited should one of the Wild’s current six get sick or injured. You would be looking at Nate Prosser, Gustav Olofsson, or Mike Riley. So please, even up some of the ice time. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think those are options you want to risk right now.
Considering that the Wild are losing this series right now, I am hoping we see some more even ice time. Sure, Suter is always going to lead that category. I certainly trust him much more this season than in others. He is dependable and knows what he’s doing now. But shave a few minutes off of Suter and the others and boost Brodin and Folin’s ice time, and you just might see a more even game. The Blues would love nothing more to head home to Saint Louis with a 2-0 lead in the series. And it’s not just the defensemen that have to figure out their game. Wednesday night, we saw way too many “fly bys” by the forwards. It’s hard to set up much quality scoring chances when skaters are out of position. Yes, the Wild got an impressive 52 shots on goal. However, how many of them were quality shots? I realize we’ve had years where we’ve been clamoring for more shots on goal. For the most part, Minnesota has solved that issue. Now, we need them to put more intention behind those shots. And part of that, is having skaters in position to do so. I’m glad Minnesota got so many shots on Jake Allen Wednesday night. Now there needs to be some method to the madness. I don’t want them to stop taking a shot on goal, even from a low percentage angle, because every once in a while, one of those will go in.
Saint Louis is making lineup changes. Minnesota is not. Let’s just hope that Bruce Boudreau’s plan of standing pat makes far more sense than Mike Yeo’s decision to shuffle things around. I have to laugh. Yeo’s game plan worked on Wednesday, why fix what isn’t broken? Yet when he was in Minnesota and things were broken he wouldn’t make changes. Perhaps he did learn from his mistakes.
In the meantime, I’m going to take a nap.