Wild Offense Still Offensive
Image courtesy of © Candice Ward | 2016 Dec 02 Coyle can't get himself, much less the puck, over the line.On October 29th, the Wild shutout the Stars 4-0. It was the third-straight shutout posted by Dubnyk and the team. At that point, through nine games, the Wild had scored 32 goals, while allowing 19. They were averaging 3.56 goals for/game, and 2.11 goals against/gm.
In the fourteen games since then, the Wild has scored 32 goals, allowing 31. They have averaged 2.29 GF/GM, and 2.21 GA/GM.
For the season, the Wild has averaged 2.78 GF/GM, and 2.17 GA/GM.
What stands out here? Two things:
1) How consistent Dubnyk has been. 2.11, 2.21, and 2.17 GA/GM fall into a very tight cluster. As mentioned above: steady and consistent. In other words, that 2.11 through game nine, inclusive of the 3-straight no-nos, is only 6 basis points off his season-to-date average. Perhaps more tellingly, that 2.11 is only 4.7% lower than his 2.21 in the fourteen games since (mitigating the 3-straight shutouts skewing the 2.17 season-to-date number).
2) How the Wild's offensive output in the first nine games was such an aberration, at least in the context of this season-to-date. 3.56. 2.29, 2.78. In other words, their 3.56 through the first nine was a larger differential (28.1% higher) from their season-to-date average (2.78) than their 2.29 has been since that 4-0 shutout of Dallas (17.6% lower).
The Wild's primary issue, since inception, has been a lack of scoring. Over each of the 15 completed seasons in which the Wild has participated, they have only finished with more goals/game than the league average for that season once. In 2014-2015. Their average differential to the league average is -0.28.
What impact has the Wild's total goals for/against this season had on their history-to-date numbers? The GF/GM has stayed the same (2.49), but the GA/GM has actually dropped, from 2.53 to 2.52. Not a big change, but any measurable change (out to 2 decimal points), when only adding 23 games to 1196 prior games, is note worthy.
The Wild got off to a good start of 6-2-1, including those three-straight shutouts. Since then, they have maintained that defensive play (only 0.10 more goals allowed/game since), but their offense has come back to reality (1.27 fewer goals for/game since). It's a good thing Bruce Boudreau already doesn't have hair.