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Special teams were just that for Wild in 2008-09

by John Kreiser


Category Rank (Conference)
2008-09 Points 89
(9TH WEst/19th NHL)
Change from 2007-08 -9
Home Points 53
(7TH WEst/14TH NHL)
Away Points 36
(11TH WEst/23RD NHL)
Advantage Margin            +37
The Wild were nothing if not disciplined: They allowed the fewest opposition power plays in the NHL overall and on the road, and only Phoenix surrendered fewer advantages at home.

Even-Strength Goals Margin        -16

Minnesota did not have a player score more than 14 goals at even strength and scored 15 fewer 5-on-5 goals than in 2007-08 -- a big reason the Wild went from division champions to not qualifying for the playoffs.
Special Teams Goal Margin        +33
The Wild's problems weren't caused by special teams. Minnesota was one of nine teams to convert more than 20 percent of its power plays, and the Wild's penalty-killers allowed a League-low 36 goals while 87.6 percent of the opposition's power plays and scoring nine shorthanded goals.

Goals by defensemen            44
Marek Zidlicky (12) and Marc-Andre Bergeron (14) gave the Wild plenty of firepower from the blue line, especially on the power play. If Bergeron isn't re-signed, Minnesota will have to scramble to replace his offense.

Overtime Record            
Total: 8-6-3 (OT: 3-6, SO: 5-3)

Minnesota goaltenders allowed just six goals on 23 shootout attempts. Niklas Backstrom, who had struggled in shootouts earlier in his career, stopped 16 of 21 attempts (.762) and won five times in seven tries.

Times Scored First           
39 (Record: 27-10-2)

The Wild struggled to score first on the road (17 times in 41 games) and didn't capitalize enough when they did get the opening goal (11-5-1).

Best 08-09 Number             55
Goals allowed in the first period by the Wild, the second-lowest total in the NHL (Columbus gave up 54). Minnesota allowed just eight power-play goals in the first period, the fewest by any team in any period -- the Wild also had the second-lowest one-period total, allowing just 10 in the third period.

Worst 08-09 Number          125
Goals scored by the Wild during 5-on-5 play, ranking Minnesota 28th in the 30-team League. The Wild were outscored by 13 goals while playing 5-on-5, and by an 11-7 margin while playing 4-on-4.
The Wild better be ready to play when the puck drops in October: They open with six of their first seven away from the Xcel Energy Center, including a five-game trip to the Pacific coast and Western Canada. They play their last five games before the Olympics at home.

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