10 April 2008
Here's the caption for the above photo (emphasis mine):
Colorado Avalanche's Joe Sakic, left center, slides the puck past Minnesota Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom, right, of Finland, while the Wild's Mark Parrish, bottom left, Petteri Nummelin (33), of Finland, and Martin Skoula (41) attempt to defend during the overtime period in a first round NHL playoff hockey game, Wednesday, April 9, 2008, in St. Paul, Minn. Avalanche's Andrew Brunette, top left, looks for a rebound. Colorado won 3-2 in overtime. (AP Photo/Tom Olmscheid)
The avs played well last night, but I think after one game it's obvious that the Foster and Schultz injuries are already taking a serious toll on the Wild blueline. Burns and Johnsson did what they do, but the other 4 d-men for the Wild simply didn't play well at all. Expect Sakic, Wolski, Brunette, Smyth, and Jones to have more very good games if those four can't improve their play. Sakic and Wolski exposed them in the 4-vs-4 and then again in OT, as the above photo shows. FYI: here's the Wild's defenders' stats, with commentary, from last night:
Carney played 14:29. He was a -1, got beat badly to the net by Kurt Sauer (!?!) and caused a penalty shot (which in all reality saved a goal. However the goal he saved would have been kind of his fault for not playing better D on Smyth).
Nummelin 21:41 of ice time. He was -1 last night. On ice for GWG by Sakic. 1 Assist though.
Skoula 26:40 of ice time. ±0 on ice by Game winning goal by Sakic. Also had a couple noteable terrible outlet passes that led to Avalanche scoring chances.
Hill 8:36 of ice time, ±0. Nothing note-able either way for his performance last night, other than the amount of time he didn't play
And the solid 2:
Burns: 30:42 ±0
Johnsson 32:58 ±0.
± is a very misleading stat, especially here, because it doesn't truly show how badly the Avs forwards really dominated those four Wild D last night. And Burns and Johnsson will not be able to survive 30:00+/night either. It's also fair game to wonder if that's why the Avs looked so strong after Fedoruk's goal and the Avs dominated from there out, while the Wild
...seemed to go into home-run pass mode in the OT. Their two big chances came that way, but they weren't able to sustain any pressure down low. That translated into finally breaking in and allowing the game-winner.(astutely observed by the blog: Wild view from section 216.)
I take no pity on the Wild for injuries (if not for Avs injuries they very well could have been the #3 seed) but it's impossible to deny this series would take a different shape if the wild had either Schultz of Foster in the lineup.
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