Archive for May 2015

It all comes down to this

Wings one step away from improbable run


Going from worst to first is rarely heard of in sports and when it is it is often of a team going from worst to first in their division. Maybe even their conference. But going from dead last in the league standings one season to winning the ultimate prize the next? Well that is unheard of.

But that is exactly what the Detroit Red Wings are on the verge of doing. They stand just four wins away from hoisting the WCHL Cup, defying the odds at every step.


Not expected to even make the playoffs, the Wings have found a way to not just do that but also overtake the Boston Bruins, New York Islanders and Columbus Blue Jackets along the way. Now only the Minnesota WIld stand in their way.

The Wild though could be a big challenge though, as they are also working on a run of their own. Also a post-season outcast last year, Minnesota has gone 12-4 this post-season, including a sweep of the Arizona Coyotes in the Western Conference finals. The Wild are riding a seven game winning streak entering the finals.


It should be a remarkable final for a pair of remarkable teams who are on remarkable runs.

Detroit Red Wings vs. Minnesota Wild - The Wings have been paced by a win by committee model, with six players posting at least a dozen points and only five regulars have yet to score a goal these playoffs. Even the goaltenders have got into the act, splitting duties almost right down the middle, with Karri Ramo getting a slight edge in minutes and games over Michael Neuvirth.


Detroit ranks third in goals for and fifth in goals against this post-season, second in shots, third fewest in penalty minutes and second in face off percentage. They have their strengths for sure.

But there is also some weaknesses, especially on special teams where they were 12th out of 16 playoffs teams on the powerplay and just 14th on the penalty kill. If it comes down to the special teams, the Wings could be cooked.


Minnesota meanwhile is a bit more top heavy offensively, with 10 regulars having yet to punch home a goal in the playoffs. Six players however do have at least five goals so far, and Antti Niemi has shaken the stigma of being a post-season choker, losing only two games in regulation time.

The Wild also are the top scoring team in the playoffs while allowing the fewest goals against per game. Part of that strong defense is a penalty kill which ranks second at just under 86 per cent effectiveness. Minnesota also allows the fewest shots per game and takes the third most shots while also being top five in both hits per game and faceoff percentage. The Wild even take the fourth fewest penalty minutes per game. Statistically, the Wild are the most dominant team this post season.


The Wings run has been strong, and they won't go easily in the final either, but the Wild are just to hot to handle at this point. Minnesota in six games.

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