Wild Played Well, Despite the Loss
As most evryone expected the first round series between the Wild and Stars is guaranteed to be a long one after Dallas evened the series at two games apiece yesterday.
It was a very good game much like game one with both teams battling throughout. In the end though, it was the goaltending of Jake Oettinger and the Stars powerplay that made the difference in game four.
Much of the talk after yesterday's game was the officiating, in particular, the two penalty calls on Marcus Foligno. They ultimately resulted in both Stars powerplay goals and the margin of victory for Dallas.
They were not suspect calls for sure as was the call on Evgenii Dadanov in the third period. The difference of course is that Dallas capitalized on their man advantage and on top of that Dadanov delivered a dagger to the Wild with his goal right out of the penalty box.
The Wild special teams have not been good to this point. the penalty kill especially allowing 7 powerplay goals. Yesterday the Wild powerplay truly let them down with some a lack luster attention to detail when they got the powerplay opportunities.
Yes they officially did score a powerplay goal, however that was with Gustavsson pulled and the team in desperation mode. There were too many wayward passes and loose puck possession particularly by the top powerplay unit.
As far as the five on five majority of the game the Wild controlled the large majority of the game. Dallas came out strong at the start of the game, but about the five minute mark the Wild really got into their game and from that point forward they were the better team at even strength.
A couple of odd man rushes for the Wild in the first period and the two breakaways in the second, delivered nothing on the scoreboard. That was a testiment to Oettinger and showcase of his World class goaltending talent. That was no more evident than the save he made on Kirill Kaprizov on his breakawy. Kaprizov was in all alone and saw the five hole open and picked his spot. The fact that Oettinger was able to close that hole that quickly was simply impressive to say the least. That was two of the NHL's elite going toe to toe, this one went to Oettinger.
We have talked about this Wild team being different than years past, and they are for sure. That was evident in the effort that they put forth another great effort in a back to back playoff performance, despite the outcome. That has been missing in previous years, and this team is going to be ready and committed moving forward.
Adjustments swing to the Wild as they look to reverse the trend of the Stars powerplay success. They will also work on their own powerplay to be sharper and get more pucks to the net with traffic in front of the net. The other are of concern was the number of significant rebounds that the Wild were able to generate from Oettinger, however there was no Wild player remotely close to capitalize on an opportunity.
Tuesday will be pivotal in Dallas!