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The Sports Daily > Crease and Assist
2017 NHL Playoffs: Minnesota Wild vs. St. Louis Blues 4/19/17 @ 8:30PM CST at Scottrade Center

Blues Lead Series 3-0

Minnesota Wild

1.00 Goals For Per Game (15th in the NHL Playoffs)

2.33 Goals Against Per Game (6th in the NHL Playoffs)

10% Power Play (14th in the NHL Playoffs)

88.9% Penalty Kill (4th in the NHL Playoffs)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #11 Zach Parise ~ 2G 1A = 3pts

2. #20 Ryan Suter ~ 0G 2A = 2pts

3. #3 Charlie Coyle ~ 1G 0A = 1pt

4. #9 Mikko Koivu ~ 0G 1A = 1pt

5. #64 Mikael Granlund ~ 0G 1A = 1pt

Top 3 PIM’s:

1. #20 Ryan Suter ~ 10 PIM’s

2. #11 Zach Parise ~ 4 PIM’s

3. #3 Charlie Coyle ~ 2 PIM’s

Top Goaltenders:

1. #40 Devan Dubnyk (0-3)  1.86GAA  .923%SP

2. #35 Darcy Kuemper N/A

 

 

Vs.

 

 

St. Louis Blues

2.33 Goals For Per Game (11th in the NHL Playoffs)

1.00 Goals Against Per Game (2nd in the NHL Playoffs)

11.1% Power Play (13th in the NHL Playoffs)

90% Penalty Kill (3rd in the NHL Playoffs)

Top 5 Scorers:

1. #17 Jaden Schwartz ~ 2G 1A = 3pts

2. #20 Alex Steen ~ 1G 2A = 3pts

3. #21 Patrik Berglund ~ 0G 3A = 3pts

4. #6 Joel Edmundson ~ 2G 0A = 2pts

5. #71 Vladimir Sobotka ~ 1G 1A = 2pts

Top 3 PIM’s:

1. #6 Joel Edmundson ~ 4 PIM’s

2. #10 Scottie Upshall ~ 4 PIM’s

3. #27 Alex Pietrangelo ~ 2 PIM’s

Top Goaltenders:

1. #34 Jake Allen (3-0)  .91GAA  .974%SP

2. #40 Carter Hutton N/A

Lines:

St. Louis Blues

Schwartz~Barbashev~Tarasenko

Sobotka~Steen~Sanford

Paajarvi~Berglund~Perron

Upshall~Brodziak~Reaves

Bouwmeester~Pietrangelo

Edmundson~Parayko

Gunnarsson~Bortuzzo

Allen

Hutton

Minnesota Wild

Haula~Koivu~Granlund

Niederreiter~Staal~Parise

Zucker~Hanzal~Coyle

Stewart~White~Pominville

Suter~Spurgeon

Scandella~Dumba

Brodin~Prosser

Dubnyk

Kuemper

 

Well it is officially “put up or shut up” time for the Minnesota Wild. Heck, it’s been that time for over a month now, and to be honest, I don’t know if anyone has the team has the gumption to look at himself in the mirror and say “man, I’ve been playing like crap.” No one has the heart and bravery to go into the dirty areas on the ice and fight for the puck. And the sad thing is, every person on this team should have been well aware that this was going to be a physical first round. Saint Louis will make you work for every inch of ice. The Wild weren’t going to be allowed to skate freely, going end to end on the rush. It just wasn’t going to happen. Look what’s happened. Minnesota has been kept to the perimeter, where little offensively can happen. It’s getting old, especially when just two months ago it felt like this just might be the year that Minnesota could make a splash in the post season. Yet, just like in other years, it’s been nothing but smoke and mirrors. It’s getting old. Would it be wrong of me to say that I hope we get swept tonight? In the past, I’ve used Green Day’s Boulevard of Broken Dreams as a backdrop for this team. Just the other day, I heard Social Distortion’s Ball and Chain on the radio. I think this about sums up the feelings of the fans.

While a part of me just wants this season to be over, it looks like head coach Bruce Boudreau isn’t quite ready for the fat lady to sing. Monday, the team got the day off and then returned to the ice on Tuesday for practice. It seems that a good portion of the practice was focus on the power play and to figure out how to get to the net. Considering the problems they’ve had getting to the areas of the ice with a better chance of scoring, why that hasn’t been addressed earlier. Also in yesterday’s practice, Boudreau shuffled the lines around. The most noticeable, is that Mikko Koivu and Mikael Granlund were not on the same line. In post practice interviews, Boudreau says these “new lines” were simply power play lines and not what we’ll see even strength. Personally, I wouldn’t mind if this is how things pan out, because something needs to change. And as Wild fans, especially those of us from the beginning, line juggling doesn’t faze us too much. Jacques Lemaire was constantly shuffling the lines around, even in the middle of games. I think perhaps the skaters have gotten too comfortable with their spots on the team, that it’s created some ambivalence. Looking at the supposed power play units as listed in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, I kind of like what I see. Perhaps Boudreau will try some of these units when not on the power play (because as we’ve seen, Minnesota gets very little time with the extra skater).

There’s one area of the ice that needs to absolutely get better, and I’m sure I might take some heat for this. And that is goaltending. This is not to say that Devan Dubnyk has been absolutely horrid, because he hasn’t. The problem is that he has given up some unbelievably weak goals. When you compare Dubnyk in the first half of the season, where he was essentially a lights-out goaltender to how he fared in the second half the of the season, it’s like night and day. His focus on the puck doesn’t seem as sharp as it was earlier in the season. And when I think of the goals he’s giving up, they’re not ones that are heavily screened. They’re not goals where there’s a mad scrum in front of the net. And let’s face it, Saint Louis is not getting anywhere close to the number of shots on Dubnyk that the Wild are putting on Jake Allen. Yes, his teammates are not giving him a lot of protection (back to the Wild not being overly physical), but Dubnyk is the last line of defense. And right now, he’s looking more like the Maginot Line than anything of real defensive effectiveness. Considering the wide open looks his skaters give him, he should be able to track the puck better than he has.

Like I said, part of me is ready for this season to be over. As a fan, I’m not quite ready to pack things up yet. I’m still waiting for Minnesota to show up to this series. It’s going to be hard to win the next four games, but at this point I’d like at least one win. It’s nice to know though that we’re in good company, as Chicago is down three games to none against Nashville.