Mike Doyle Five Takeaways at Anaheim
Following Wild games, Managing Editor Mike Doyle will give the Five Takeaways that he'll remember from the contest. Tonight, he looks back at a 3-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks:
The Wild had a big effort in the third period scoring two goals, after trailing 3-0 to start the final frame, but came up just short. Minnesota’s comeback effort actually started in the second period, outshooting Anaheim, 15-6, in the middle frame.
Chance after chance the Wild narrowly missed or Ducks’ netminder Jonas Hiller came up big. There were at least three oh-so-close chances that the club just couldn’t convert or Anaheim barely escaped.
But the team couldn’t capitalize on its chances until the third…
In the final frame, Kyle Brodziak got the Wild on the scoreboard only 29 seconds into the period. Brodziak took a Ducks’ turnover and placed a half-slapper off the post and in for his second goal of the season. The Wild center was moved up to a line with Dany Heatley and Pierre-Marc Bouchard today and again gave an honest effort, reliable effort, something we’ve grown to count on from the forward.
Also scoring on a third-period slap shot was Devin Setoguchi. Setoguchi took a pass in the neutral zone and cut across the Anaheim blue line. He then avoided a check, making a spin move around a defender, composed himself and then blew a rocket past Hiller on the glove side for his fourth goal of the year.
Obviously in this league learning experiences don’t get you points in the standings, but the club can take the second two periods and try to duplicate that effort moving forward.
The Wild outshot the Ducks in the game, 33-29, but until the third period, couldn’t solve goaltender Jonas Hiller. Where Hiller was fortunate on a few plays, Wild netminder Darcy Kuemper was unlucky.
On Anaheim’s third goal, the eventual game winner, Daniel Winnik tried to make a centering pass, but the puck hit deflected off the back of Ryan Suter’s leg and was redirected towards the Wild goal. Kuemper stopped the puck and it looked like he froze it, but there was no whistle. Matt Beleskey came in and slashed Kuemper’s pad and the puck slid past the goal line.
There is a philosophical debate going on in the hockey community between advanced metric stats guys and old school analysts. If you look at tonight’s Event Summary provided by the NHL, you’ll see that the Ducks out shot-blocked the Wild 18-7.
Now, the old time hockey analysts will say that the Ducks “wanted it more” or that they “did what it takes to win tonight.” Analytic stat geeks might argue that the reason the Ducks blocked more shots was because the Wild attempted more shots and possessed the puck for more of the game, things that, you know, it takes to win hockey games.
So, which one is right?
Tonight, I guess you’d have to side with the old school analyst since the Ducks eventually won the game. However, when a team is out-chancing and winning the puck possession battle, I’d take that over more blocked shots nine times out of ten. Speaking of old-time hockey…
The Wild was on the second night of a back-to-back and the Ducks were rested, last playing on Wednesday at home. The Ducks tried to take advantage by turning the game into a physical contest. Well, tempers started to flare with two fights in the game, both reactionary but for different reasons.
First, Clayton Stoner rocked Matt Beleskey in the corner of the Wild’s defensive zone. The Ducks forward took exception to the hit and dropped the gloves with Stoner. He might’ve bit off more than he could chew because the fight was a whirlwind of Stoner haymakers and Beleskey’s hair flying all over the place.
The second tilt was also reactionary as Zenon Konopka was doing what he does and stood up for a teammate. Tom Gilbert took a hard hit from Patrick Maroon in the club’s defensive zone. Konopka was skating back, saw the play and immediately dropped them with Maroon. Midway through the second period, Konopka was trying to fire up the team and nothing gets guys on the bench on their feet and cheering like a good old-fashioned dust up.