Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Thoughts From Hollywood

Somehow, the Wild got two points last night. Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA Today Sports

Though last night was one of the more lopsided games in terms of puck possession by any team this year. And yet, it was one of those nights where the score was far from the story of the game.

The LA Kings thoroughly dominated the Wild, as you can see in the shot attempt chat. Somehow though, the Kings only managed one goal in 65 minutes.

The Wild escaped Los Angeles with a 2-1 shootout victory thanks in large part to a 39 save effort from Darcy Kuemper. While the Wild were just owned in all aspects of the game, it was just one of those rare occurrences where the worse team escapes with a win.

Some other thoughts from last night's tilt:
  • Keith Ballard came off the ice after his shift with 8:42 remaining in the second period. He never played another shift. Ballard was benched by Mike Yeo for the remainder of the game after having an awful first 30 minutes. Per Extra Skater, Ballard was the second worst puck possession player in the NHL last night. So benching him was a smart move.
  • If you look at the same photo when it comes to puck possession last night, you find old pal Kyle Brodziak on the list too. Luckily for Brodziak, Yeo has more faith in him than Ballard so Brodziak was able to play in the third period. That almost proved costly.
  • The Kings are the best puck possession team in the league. So the fact they dominated a depleted Wild squad was not surprising. Tomorrow, the Wild play the Coyotes, a team that is more on their level in terms of puck possession, so we should not have a repeat performance.
  • After Darcy Kuemper's great performance and the fact Niklas Backstrom is banged up, we should see Kuemper back in the cage tomorrow. The net should belong to Kuemper now until he has an awful game or Josh Harding returns.
  • Once again, the line of Nino Niederreiter-Mikael Granlund-Jason Pominville has been reunited. So the question has to be asked here: Why do we separate the line at all? They generally do well together, but injuries have kept splitting them up. Just leave the line alone and worry about the other three.
  • 9:30 local start times are just awful. Thank goodness for coffee.

Follow Giles on Twitter @gilesferrell

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