See A Little Light: Wild 1 – Hawks 4 (Hawks Lead 2-0)

Box Score

Event Summary

War On Ice

Natural Stat Trick

Coming into this one, the main story was always going to be how Mike Yeo adjusted the way his troops went about playing this one, and would the d-men who all made mistakes in Game 1 leading to goals would tighten up or not. Yeo did change tack, and it was the Hawks’ d-men who certainly tightened up. Sadly for Minnehaha, Ryan Suter most certainly did not.

The Wild came into this one deciding to lean heavily on what they do best, and that is gobble up space in the neutral zone and keep things to the perimeter in their zone. While it wasn’t an out-and-out trap, it certainly was more conservative than they were in Game 1. On the surface, it makes total sense. As we said in the program tonight, when judging how things were going for each goalie in these playoffs, the Wild did seem more likely to win a 2-1 game than they do a 4-3 one.

There are two major problems though with backing up against the Hawks and trying to choke out a game. One, ceding possession to them is having a gasoline fight, because there is too much firepower at forward to think they aren’t going to find a crack anywhere for 60 minutes.

Second, this season the Hawks struggle more with teams that come right at them and try and rip seams in what’s been a wonky defensive structure for a majority of the season. Look at the Preds. Stepping back gives the Hawks time to make better passes, giving their forwards more time to make better passes, and you get what we got here tonight. It only took on bouncing puck to put Ryan Suter in a bad spot (and perhaps the luckiest bounce of Dubnyk’s nub that the Hawks might get all playoffs) and then a Thomas Vanek turnover and a drop of awareness from Suter to give the Hawks what felt like an insurmountable lead at 2-0 heading into the 3rd. That’s how hard it is to try and sleeper hold them for 60 minutes, because one slip and you’re trailing in the 3rd, something of a specialty for these Hawks.

Let’s finish it out:


The Two Obs

-To put numbers to the problem the Wild have when they go a bit trap-y, the Hawks had 53% of the attempts at evens tonight. If you’re going to let the Hawks control things that way, you’d better get satanic verses from your goalie. China Grove was at .900 tonight. That’s not going to add up.

-For most of the first 40, the Hawks breakouts were so much cleaner, but then again they were allowed to be as the Wild’s third forward wasn’t on definite seek and destroy and the d-men were all too anxious to back up. I doubt we’ll see this in front of a rabid Xcel Energy crowd on Tuesday.

-While Kane’s line was able to manage two goals (one empty netter), they were the only line buried in possession tonight for the Hawks. And mostly it came from Minnesota’s 4th line. We’ll just chalk it up to one of those things.

-When Duncan Keith got that puck on a delayed offside with less than a minute to go just inside his own blue line, for just a second I thought I knew what it felt like when Aaron Rodgers sees a d-lineman jump offsides and he knows he’s got a free play. Must be nice to have that a lot. You could see four Wildlings in front of the red line, and you knew there was something behind it even if it wasn’t apparent on the TV screen.

-Giving up one goal should do some good for Crow’s confidence. And while he was too deep in his net and too eager to drop down for Dumba’s goal, my conspiracy theory loving heart thinks if it had been Darling in net Eddie O would have been talking about what a laser that shot was. Because it was.

-Antoine Vermette, +10 in Corsi, his best mark as a Hawk. Two games together, two veterans in Sharp and Vermette who are very intelligent players along with a highly creative winger in Teuvo. It’s not a miracle it looks pretty good right now. No one’s got this four line attack, as the 4th line was the next best in possession.

-The Hawks’ PK is still a worry, even if not all power plays will be lacing wristers into the top corner. Got to get it fixed. But does it seem like teams are always scoring on Rozsival’s penalties? That’s at least three in the last four games, right? Kill one off for the old guy already.

-This was the first game of the postseason where Keith has played over half of it, despite all the hubbub over his time. Seemed a tad odd that this should be the game where the Hawks led by multiple goals for most of the 3rd, but I guess I get it. Sure it won’t be the last time, but Q hasn’t been made to declare DEFCON 5 yet and simply abuse his top four in a game.

-Brodin and Suter were a combined -22 tonight in Corsi. I just don’t see a way forward for Minnesota if the Hawks’ top lines are having that much time in the offensive zone, no matter the exemplary coverage those two usually provide there. You’re asking for trouble.

Let’s remember the words of Winston Wolf. The Hawks were in this same spot last year, and while they won the series they were seriously outplayed in Games 3 and 4 then. We know that the win in Nashville was the first time the Hawks had won their first road game in a series since San Jose ’10. We’d like to believe the Hawks will come out to end it but the shouting on Tuesday, but that really hasn’t been their M.O. this season. It’s trending in the right direction, though.



  • Bob Lanz

    Good win, great weekend! 10 I like that but I like 9 even more. Road win and then rest cause the ducks look like two sweeps is going to be dare I say easy. We know we needs to be done, put down Hawks

    • ZigZags82

      Let the Ducks get comfortable. Let them get an air of invincibility about them with all of their obvious flaws.

      Can’t wait for the Hawks to take all of that away from them in a puff of smoke and destroy all hope in ending their season.

      • WookRN

        Ducks sweep, when they meet up, that’s what? 12 games in like 6 weeks. Kinda hard to be focused?? We hope….???

        • ZigZags82

          I see another Hawks-Sharks ’10 WCF style series for the Hawks. Let the Ducks be lulled….

          • Jim

            What are the Ducks flaws?

          • JB from PA


          • jhb

            They rely on their top line to score. Defense has no shut down or top flight puck mover. Goalies unproven. Bruce Boudreau.

          • ZigZags82

            Possession (Playing the two worst possession teams inflates that), lack of depth, severe lack of depth

          • Jim

            So now is the WCF?

          • ZigZags82

            No. Just talking about a potential WCF. Weak defense, no depth, bad coaching, = a quick series. Yes I know we still have to get through this one, I’m just saying.

  • ZigZags82

    Some great things. It felt and looked like most of Minny’s shots were outside the dots and not really that threatening to Crawford. Hawks did an excellent job keeping them to the outside and cleaning up (Crow was typical Crow too). They absolutely locked Minny down

    I think the PK was actually pretty good other than the laser shot. Better play along the boards, more disciplined play in front of the crease in cleaning up, and overall just more aggressive. While not there yet, I do think it is more than trending up towards that consistent lockdown level we’ve seen the Hawks capable of.

    The line are literally perfect right now. Perfect balance of intelligence, too end dangerous skill, and vet savvy on every line (Yay Teuvo!). No ones rolling 4 lines like the Hawke right now. No one

    Other than thr dumb Rozy penalty, it also looks like we have 5 viabke defensemen too which bodes well for now to keep it going. Helps a lot. I know there’s the slight concern of how they’ll play on the road, but I think this team has learned something to more than steal one. 2 is always ideal but 1 is fair and all I ask.

    Scary thing this that for how great and complete they look right, they still have room to improve. For all the things were nitpicking and criticizing in games they control, that means they still reach another level and get that much BETTER.

    I don’t think they are running on eight cylinders yet, which amazes me and makes me really happy. Yes yes,


  • Sam

    Anyone know Kane’s playoff shooting pct?

    • Aaeismacgychel

      From what I saw, I thought Kimmo was having a really rough go of it tonight. He was losing pretty much every board battle he was in and was getting beat by the forecheck. I actually understand the benching of him. The way to beat this Wild team is not allowing clean outlets through the neutral zone and making quick decisions defensively in your own zone. Kimmo was struggling with the latter and Q made the executive decision to pull him to make sure the Wild couldn’t take advantage and pin them in. For this game, I thought it was a smart decision and it worked.

      • Preacher

        Kimmo looks like he doesn’t have a high hockey IQ out there. Or maybe he’s just not familiar enough yet with where his teammates will be. When he pinches in, he always–ALWAYS– sends the puck around the boards behind the net. He never passes to a teammate. He just dumps it deep. (Which is OK, but not the usual creativity we’ve seen from our other Dmen.) And on the defensive side, he usually also is just trying to get the puck out of the zone. Pretty much always goes up the boards. No real attempt to pass at all. Not being a hater here, just saying that the guy’s game is pretty one-dimensional.

        • ZigZags82

          To be fair, given the limited time he’s played in the last few months, he’s probably not in the best shape nor does he have the best confidence in his abilities right now.

          That’s a Hall of Fame defensemen when healthy, one of the Finnish greats, considering his resume. Let’s get him a Cup.

    • cza

      13.6 percent (42 goals on 309 shots). Since 2009-2010, the average playoff shot percentage for forwards is a little under 10 (eyeballing it; someone else can actually calculate this since I didn’t see a link to Quanthockey’s underlying table. Graphs, in this case, are dumb).

      Kimmo looked to be getting abused. There were a few plays in the Hawks zone where the Wild skaters just manhandled him.

      P.S. Quanthockey graphs:

      • Sam

        tnx. 18.5% (5/27) this year

  • Preacher

    Dubnyk’s given up, what, 7 goals in two games? And yet all we’ll hear about goaltending will be how Crawford let that one in tonight.
    And can Rundblad be any worse than Rozy? A game off might do him some good. He keeps passing to the other team. Sigh.

    • Aaeismacgychel

      I wish it would be the case, but sadly I don’t think it is. Rundblad was given the chance to win the job late in the regular season and unfortunately he actually played worse than Rozi in those games. We al wished someone else would’ve stepped up and sadly nobody really did after TVR went down. Just not a good situation.

    • bobpulfordshelpermonkey

      Yes he could. Rundblad gets the yipes the second an opposing skater steps on the ice. How long do you think he’d last in the playoffs when players actually finish checks and the refs give them an extra second to do it.

      I’m not a Rozy fan but I’ve seen enough of Mr. Rundblad.

  • Brandon Murray

    I’ve just been handed an urgent bulletin that needs your immediate attention, it reads:
    “Patrick Kane is good at hockey”
    That is all.

  • Jim

    I love hockey schadenfreude, and have it in spades on the Wild chat boards. Most enjoyable. Doobies’ breakdown was not expected. And there is despair that although the Wild are good, they simply have no answer for Kane and Toews, which is, of course, true.

    Anything can happen in this series, but I’m enjoying this one.

    • ZigZags82

      Anything can not happen. I’m willing to be money that the Wild will not win 4 of 5.

    • ourgeorge

      I’m with you on that. In two games their fanbase has flipped from unearned confidence to unearned desolation and they completely deserve it.

  • Oldfarthawkfan

    Highest form of compliment for TT’s play yesterday, was when Emerick called TT Kane. Richards although not good at faceoff’s has developed some nice chemistry with #88. Those nifty little 5 foot no look touch passes to Kaner are beauts. And against 2 fast teams, Ritchie has more than kept up. I love playoff Bickell. Is doing all the dirty work, I don’t care if he scores as long as he keeps excelling at the other parts of his game. Not necessarily the hits, but he has shown great puck management, and has had some scoring opportunities. You need your stars to shine which has happened, but you need your foot soldiers to give your stars the opportunity to shine.

    We pan Stanbo for the miss on kimmo, but nobody saw what Desjardins would bring. And if we had to give away our first round pick at the draft, I am glad Stanbo chose to spend it on Vermette and not Sekera

    • ZigZags82

      Vermette looks like a stud out there

    • ToucanStubbs

      His first game with the Hawks, I mistook him for Kane. You know how, when you can’t see their numbers, you watch a players’ skating to identify them? Well TT looks exactly like Kane. There was a play where TT was skating towards the wall/camera right through the slot, stick just waggling back and forth like the puck was tied to it as he eyeballed the net and looked for a hole to snipe. That’s textbook Kaner-ragging-the-puck-style. When those two finally get to play together, its going to be like the world is standing still.

    • Bobby Otter

      Yeah, but Doc also was confusing Vermette and Versteeg twice a period in Game 5 or 6 against the Preds.

  • DEFCON 1 is actually the highest…

  • Harry Longwood

    I’m honestly surprised you didn’t give more kudos to Tivo for what I judged to be his best performance in a Hawks jersey so far. He was aggressive on offense, generating several chances by making passes that nobody else even sees, and he was positionally sound on defense, as evidenced by his nice play along the boards that led to the slick goal by Sharp.

    Best all-around performance I’ve seen from him so far, and the scary thing is that both he and his game still have so much room to grow.

  • Bobby Otter

    I have to say, playing the Wild again and them just not having it… it feels a little early/mid 90s Hawks/Wings (Hawks in the Wings roll of course). Wild haven’t had the goalie stand on his head ala Belfour, so it’s not a perfect comparison, but anyway, sort of makes me feel for the Wild and their fans in a “Oh, I’ve been there, I know how this feels” kind of way.

  • Björn

    Um, last round vs. the Preds wasn’t their last road victory since 2010…

    2011, they were down 3-0 against VAN, came back to game 7. Had to win in VAN to do that.

    2012, both of their victories against PHX came in PHX.

    2013, round 1 was won in 5 against MIN, means a win at the X. Round 2, won in 7 against DET after going down 3-1. Round 3, won in 5 against LA. SCF, won in 6…winning it in BOS.

    Last year, first round won game 5 in STL (I was there for Toews OT winner). Round 2, won Game 6 in Minny. Round 3, won game 6 after going down to LA.

    Thats, um, quite a few playoff road Ws

    • ZigZags82

      Road Game 3’s. Not overall road play. We know they’re capable of taking road games, even multiple, just not Game 3. Hope it changes tomorrow night. Let’s go over this 7 year run where they have had road Game 3’s:

      Lost in LA/MIN G3 last year. ’13 lost in BOS/LA/DET/MIN G3. ’10 lost in PHI, NSH G3. ’09 lost in CAL G3.

      So yeah pretty much almost every (I think the Canucks in ’10 is the one outlier?) opportunity they’ve had in a road Game 3, they’ve lost. Yeah ultimately it always didn’t amount to much as they still more often than not won the series by taking another road game eventually (except LA last year obviously) The problem has been being lethargic and just not showing up for these G3’s with a chance take a stranglehold.

      Hope this veteran group has learned something. (For the record I could care less, as long they hopefully get a split with whoever they play. Just pointing this out)