Oct 17, 2013, 2:07 PM EST
We wrote yesterday about the concerns Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle has with his team, which despite an impressive 6-1-0 record has struggled to gain consistent puck possession this season.
This post isn’t so much about the Leafs as their latest victim, the Wild. But it’s all related.
In case you missed it, Toronto beat Minnesota, 4-1, on Tuesday while getting outshot by a huge margin, 37-14.
For the Wild, it was a tough result to take; however, their overall good performance didn’t go unnoticed by the head coach of tonight’s opponent, the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Said Jon Cooper, per the Minneapolis Star Tribune: “I look at the score – the 4-1 loss to Toronto – and I’m sitting there thinking in my head, ‘Toronto’s rolling and Minnesota must have ran into a buzz saw.’ And then I watched the game and I can’t believe the score wasn’t reversed at worst. … They’re extremely structured, they battled hard all through their lines and I think they have some guy on defense there that plays 75 minutes in a 60-minute game (Ryan Suter). He’s just a horse back there. It’s pretty impressive to watch. Pretty impressed with their team. There’s a lot of structure and they play really hard, so this is going to be a tough one for us tonight.”
If you believe what the so-called advanced stats (which really aren’t too advanced if you take the time to learn about them) say, the Wild have been one of the better teams in the NHL this season. In fact, the advanced stats say Minnesota is right up there with San Jose, Chicago and Pittsburgh.
At any rate, Josh Harding will get the start in goal for Minnesota (3-2-2) tonight. The Wild’s goaltending hasn’t been great overall (team save percentage of .889), which may help explain why they’ve lost some games they could have won. Harding has been very good though, with a save percentage of .952 in five appearances.
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