Thursday, April 24, 2014

Game 4 Notes

Photo: Bruce Kluckhohn/Getty Images
Here is an assortment of thoughts/stats heading into Game Four tonight:

  • Nino Niederreiter is taking the vacant spot left by Matt Cooke on the third line. Nino has had a very good series thus far, getting most of his time in on the fourth line. He will now be tasked with stopping the dreaded Landeskog-Stastny-MacKinnon line alongside Erik Haula and Justin Fontaine. This line is of utmost importance again for the Wild tonight, if they want to tie up the series.
  • A big reason for the Wild's dominance in Game Three was their ability to intercept or deflect passes coming from the Avalanche. It lead to the Avs being outshot 46-22 in the game, and the top line of Landeskog-Stastny-MacKinnon was just held to eight shots on goal.
  • Since scoring on their second power play of the series, the Wild have not scored since while being on the man advantage. They are 1/11 in the series, including their 0/3 mark in Game Three. If Semyon Varlamov will be continuing his performance from Game Three, the Wild will need to capitalize while having the man advantage a bit more than at the current 9% clip they are hitting on right now.
  • Darcy Kuemper was not named to the three stars of the game after posting a 22 save shutout in Game Three. That seems a bit outrageous, no?
  • Mikko Koivu has been utterly ridiculous in the faceoff circle this series. He has won 50 out of 77 draws, which amounts to a 65% win rate. With most of his draws coming in the offensive or neutral zone (close to 80% of his draws come in the OZ or NZ), that is a very nice win percentage.
  • Not to be Debbie Downer, but Minnesota got a Game Three overtime win to cut the series deficit to 2-1 last year, only to lose the next two games to Chicago. 
  • More for the Debbie Downer category: Minnesota is 0-2 all-time in Game Fours against Colorado. The Wild lost in 2003 at home 3-1, then in 2008 lost 5-1 in Colorado.
  • Jim Dowd will be tonight's "Let's Play Hockey" announcer. Jim was a member of the inaugural Wild team and played with the Wild through 2004. You can follow Jim on Twitter @dowdjim.

Follow Giles on Twitter @gilesferrell

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