Monday, December 16, 2013

Lack of Even Strength Goals

5 on 5 scoring has not been easy this past month. Photo: Carlos Gonzalez/Star Tribune
Mikael Granlund has been out. Charlie Coyle has been centering the second line. Mike Yeo has shuffled the lines more times than you can count. Add all that up, and what has that gotten the Wild?

A severe lack of goal scoring when the team is playing at even strength.

The power play continues to be a stronghold for this team as they hold the 8th best PP in the league, with a 20.4% clip (22/108). Problem is, they don't get enough chances with the man advantage. The team sits in the bottom third of the league when it comes to drawing penalties (9th fewest PP chances in the NHL). So more often, they are playing the game at 5 on 5.

And when it comes to 5 on 5 hockey, the Wild are suffering in the goal scoring department. They currently hold the 5th worst offense in the league, with only 77 goals for on the season (their 22 power play goals, account for 28.5% of this total). 50 of those goals have come at 5 on 5. That is the fourth worst number of 5 on 5 goals in the NHL.

Player wise, the Wild are lead in 5 on 5 scoring by Nino Niederreiter who holds a 1.53 P/60 (points over 60 minutes played) line. Folks, that is best on the team, and it ranks 140th in the NHL (per Extra Skater). Your team leaders in points Mikko Koivu-1.38 (166th) and Zach Parise-1.35 (179th) don't come in too far behind, but are still incredibly far down the list (Ryan Getzlaf of Anaheim leads the league with a 3.36 P/60).

Since putting four goals on the board in Ottawa, the Wild have hit four just once (4 vs Chicago on 12/5), and three twice (11/23 at WPG, 12/8 vs SJ). The Wild won all those games where they scored three or more, but they have gone 2-6-1 in those games where they score two goals or less.

It has not been a pretty stretch for the Wild.  A positive for them has been the power play, but chances have come few and far between. A huge key to their success will be scoring more goals at even strength if they want to survive in the uber-powerful Western Conference.

And as you can see, it can't get much worse than it already is...

Follow Giles on Twitter @gilesferrell

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