Kind of buried in Mike Russo's blog entry on Ian Laperriere yesterday was an interesting little blurb. Russo was responding to a lot of groans from the Avosphere about the Wild's boring game:
The Wild and Avs play essentially the same system when they don’t have the puck. Almost identical in fact, so much so that when we were in Edmonton a few weeks ago, coach Craig MacTavish basically said he didn’t watch any video of the Wild because the Oilers had just played the Avalanche, so his players were prepared for the Minnesota system.
I think Russo's right. I've never really "gotten" complaints about the Wild's game, and I actually like to watch the Wild play. Part of that is due to their stellar broadcast team, and part of that is because I like tight hockey games. I know I'm not in the majority, of course.
Like it or not, though, these teams have some similarities. Both won exactly 44 games this year. And check out the goal totals. Colorado scored 224 to the Wild's 220. The stingy Wild gave up just 210 goals, while the Avs gave up 216. Just a 4-goal difference in goals scored and 6-goal difference in goals allowed. I guess I can see now why Wes Walz was so confused.
The teams did score their goals differently. The Avs scored 166 goals at even strength, 17 more than the Wild. But the Wild had 16 more powerplay goals, 64-48. The Avs got 74% of their scoring at even strength, 21% on the PP* and just 1% shorthanded. For the Wild, the splits were 68/29/1. I don't imagine it will surprise anyone to report that the Avs had the highest reliance on even strength goals in the league, and were about 3 points higher than the next team (the Blues). The league average for EV and PP goals was 65.5 and 27.8.
Defensively, the teams put up similar numbers. The Avs gave up 145 even strength goals to the Wild's 149. The Avs gave up 56 PP goals (most, apparently, by Peter Budaj) to the Wild's 48. The big shocker here, as I mentioned this morning is the 10 SH goals the Wild have given up. I wish the Avs were more of a shorthanded threat, as this would be a great weakness to exploit.
So, guys and gals, before casting those stones at Jacques Lemaire and his defensive game you might want to at least step outside of your glass house. Or at least open the damn window first.