The Minnesota Wild are 6-10-3 in their last 19, and unlike parts of last year, they can’t blame the goaltending or injuries for their struggles.
In fact, without Devan Dubnyk and Darcy Kuemper, the Wild might have dropped even further out of a playoff spot by now. Both netminders were excellent in December and January.
Not so excellent were the Wild’s possession stats. In the last 19 games, here’s where Minnesota ranks in score-adjusted Corsi, per Puck On Net:
Now, granted, possession isn’t everything. You’ll note Colorado and New Jersey in that group of five, and the Avs and Devils have been doing OK lately.
But the All-Star break did give Wild coach Mike Yeo an opportunity to meet with the club’s analytics staff, and what he learned was “interesting,” according to Chad Graff of the St. Paul Pioneer Press:
Per war-on-ice.com, Minnesota’s shooting percentage in its last 19 games is just 6.7. Only Montreal and Edmonton have a lower conversion rate in that time span, so the assertion that the Wild “just haven’t been finishing” is an accurate one. However, given the aforementioned possession stats, so too is the assertion that there are “areas we have to be a lot better.”
The Wild return to action tonight in Brooklyn against the Islanders, then play the Rangers Thursday in Manhattan and the Blues Saturday in St. Louis — a tough three-game trip coming out of the break.
And it doesn’t get any easier when they get home, with Dallas, Washington, and Boston paying visits next week.
Related: Why this Wild slump may be different