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Lightning coach can’t believe the Wild lost to the Leafs either

Oct 17, 2013, 2:07 PM EDT

Darcy Kuemper Getty Images

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.

  1. withseidelinn - Oct 17, 2013 at 2:39 PM

    The lack of consistency in these “advanced” stats is ridiculous. It favors some teams and makes others look bad. As long as you find a way to win you’re alright.

  2. endusersolutions2013 - Oct 17, 2013 at 2:39 PM

    Looks like as long as Josh is healthy, he’s now the starter.

  3. Windmiller4 - Oct 17, 2013 at 3:58 PM

    I always thought Harding was better than Backstrom, good to see him playing well, especially after all he’s been through. Personally i think goaltending will be the Wild’s downfall, Backstrom hasn’t been as good this year or last, but his and Hardings health problems might just make it so the wild can’t sneak in to playoffs again. Hopefully they both stay healthy from here on out

  4. drhockeysm7 - Oct 17, 2013 at 4:03 PM

    Wild will absolutely make the playoffs… Goal-tending will not be an issue either. The team is playing very well in front of him and the goalies are doing their part as well.

    Backstrom is a solid top 15 net-minder in the league, and his stats are usually in the top 10 at the end of the year. I agree he could be better, he is not really the type of goalie to STEAL a game, rather just keep the Wild in it. Backstrom has also been the victim of some unusual bounced again, so far this year.

    Harding has been very impressive since taking over… If they continue to play the way they have been, and continue to improve over the season, it will be a nice improvement over last year in all aspects!

    GO WILD!!!

    • drhockeysm7 - Oct 17, 2013 at 4:05 PM

      Sorry, it should say — “The team is playing very well in from of THEM (the goalies), and the goalies are doing their part too”

      Meaning they haven’t lost us any games, except for maybe Kuemper in Toronto, but that was a tough situation for a lot of reasons and I am fully confident that he will bounce back in a big way, when he gets the chance.

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