Where do I start? It happened, again. I mean, it should really be no surprise. That’s what Minnesota teams do, right? We scratch and claw just enough to get to the playoffs and then get absolutely smoked in the first round. Not just the Wild, but every major team.
The Vikings have a total of four playoff wins since 2005. Four wins, in eighteen years. Though, that’s certainly much better than the Twins, who are the MLB record-holders for longest playoff losing streak at 18 games without a win. Not since 2004, have they managed to squeak out a win.
Oh, yeah. I almost forgot about the Timberwolves. Hey, they’ve made the playoffs TWO seasons in a row now. Yes, they lost in the first round predictably, but T-Wolves star, Anthony Edwards “took it personal” when facing elimination because he didn’t want to have to say that they got swept in the playoffs. How about if you “take it personal” starting with Game One and get farther that Round 1. Well, they proudly avoided a sweep with a Game 4 win. Hooray!!
Back to the Wild. After an exhausting, emotional Game 1 victory in double overtime, I was thinking that this was going to be a really good series. I predicted the Wild winning in six games, behind a solid goaltending tandem, decent defense, and a completely rested Kirill Kaprizov coming off a lower-body injury.
After a 4-1 loss in Game 6, the Wild were outscored 21-14 in the series and severely outplayed and outcoached in four of the six games. The penalty kill for the Wild was awful, there wasn’t one game in the series in which they won more faceoffs than the Stars, and they only scored three goals in the last three games total (1 goal/game avg). Dallas scored three or more goals, in four of the six games.
While the refs were trash throughout the series, I won’t say that they are the ones who lost it for the Wild. The Minnesota squad had so many breakaways and half-empty nets and they just could not put the puck in the back of the net. Especially in Game Six, it seemed as though the Wild could not find a clear shooting lane, there always seemed to be three Stars standing between the shooter and the net. The puck didn’t have a chance to get through. The Wild just had a hard enough time coming through the neutral zone and keeping possession.
Full credit has to be given to Lakeville, MN-native, Jake Oettinger, the goalie for the Stars. I knew he was good going into the series, but he was down-right unbelievable at times in net. I couldn’t be happier for the guy, but against the Wild? Come on, man!! Kaprizov had one goal, no assists in the series. Matt Boldy, no goals, three assists. Mats Zuccarello and Ryan Hartman, two goals, three assists each. Frederick Gaudreau, three goals, no assists. In large part, the Wild offense was shut down throughout the series. Even the “close” games, weren’t really that close.
I don’t know, people. I’m going to have to move to a different state. To a place where their sports teams actually have a shot once they make the playoffs. Boston? No way, not evah!! New York? Fuhgeddaboudit. Florida? Not in a hundred years (or the average age of Floridians). Maybe, I’ll just quit watching sports forever. My blood pressure and stress level will go down. What am I saying? Of course, I will keep watching Wild hockey. Well, not this year.
An analysis of the Wild offseason will follow soon. FYI… the Minnesota Sports Fan Support Club meets every Wednesday night at 7PM at your local VFW. Meat raffle at 8PM. Perhaps, we should market Minnesota as such: “Minnesota Nice: We’re so nice, we let your teams kick our ass in the postseason every single year.”
I’m out…. like the Wild. (Cue mic drop.)