Game of the week: Wild at Colorado Game 5, 8:30pm, FSN. The advanced statistics say that the Wild controlled the puck in Game 3 and Game 4 for around 70% of the time; if you take into account only 5-on-5 time, that number jumps up to around 75%. In the two games, Colorado combined to loose 50 shots that weren’t blocked; the Wild, meanwhile, took 111.
It’s been two games of domination, in other words, so much so that the Wild are now topping all of the advanced metrics for the playoffs so far. The one caveat, though, is that in Games 1 and 2, the Wild’s numbers were much, much worse; it’s not too much to say that the Avs were the utterly dominant ones in the first two games.
After two games, it appeared that Mike Yeo was being completely outcoached by Patrick Roy, but in the next two, it was Roy that appeared to be taking a beating. As much as the people using the hashtag #lastchange on Twitter were joking, being allowed to match a checking line with standout Avs forward Nathan MacKinnon appeared to make a great deal of difference. Plus, the Wild were inarguably more physical in the second two games, in a series that’s rapidly making it clear that NHL officials have gone old-school and forgotten what an interference penalty looks like.
So, Game 5. Can the Wild still be physical? Can they somehow avoid having MacKinnon and company play against their worst lines? Will the refereeing crew be as exceptionally bad as every prior crew in this series? Tune in and find out.
What else to watch
7:00 tonight: United vs. Edmonton, Channel 45. Minnesota’s local pro soccer team is televising every home match this year, as David La Vaque so ably covers in this morning’s paper. Perhaps more importantly, though: can United continue its perfect start to the season, and add a third consecutive win to begin the year?
8:30 tonight: Oklahoma City at Memphis, ESPN. OKC is down two games to one and reeling against the Grizzlies, who may be the seventh seed, but whose slow-em-down regular-season strategy led them to 50 wins. A three games-to-one series lead might be insurmountable for the Thunder.
8am tomorrow: Liverpool vs. Chelsea, NBC Sports. Liverpool, once far and away the most dominant team in England, haven’t won a championship for 24 years. A win tomorrow over second-place Chelsea, and they’ll be just one step away. Chelsea, meanwhile, are concentrating on their chance to win the European Cup, and are fielding an under-strength team – but Chelsea’s second team is better than most squads’ first teams.
Noon tomorrow: PGA Zurich Classic, Golf Channel. So far in this tournament, Ben Martin has broken the course record with a 62, then put up a 67 in which he closed his first nine bogey-double bogey. I’m just excited to see what he does next.
NOTE: This appeared at RandBall.