Date: Wednesday November 13, 2013
Puck Drop: 7:30pm ET
TV Channel: TSN
One team is very good when it comes to possession, the other team is very bad when it comes to possession. Through 18 and 17 games of the season respectively the Minnesota Wild and Toronto Maple Leafs have ended up with essentially the same number of points. Tonight in St. Paul, Minnesota it will be a clash of two very different teams, with very different styles, that have thus far had very similar results.
The Maple Leafs will be once gain playing without two of their top 3 centreman as David Bolland (ankle ligament) and Tyler Bozak (hamstring) are on the sidelines with injuries. James van Riemsdyk will continue his cameo down the middle of the ice between Joffrey Lupul and Phil Kessel. The science experiment that is van Riemsdyk at centre has had its ups and downs, but at this point the Leafs have very little choice in the matter without reinforcements in the forseeable future.
After a philisophical change at the organizational level, the Wild have gone from a Corsi also ran to one of the league leaders. They have managed a 10-4-4 record with a below average shooting percentage thanks in part to a Corsi For of 54.2%. Josh Harding has been the feel good story of they year, managing a .947 sv% in his 14 games played (while facing a grand total of 286 shots, or the average James Reimer start).
With the hype surrounding this battle of “advanced vs. traditional stats”, the reaction in Toronto will surely be unbearable. If the Leafs win while being outshot (which they likely will be) the scores of talk radio callers that grace this fine city will take to the airwaves to admonish the analytics community. While a Wild win will have the analytics community smugly telling the world that the Leafs need to be more like the Wild. It’s really a lose-lose..unless the Leafs manage to win the game and the possession battle.
The Leafs win the game and the possession battle! They build upon their 17 minutes of dominance against the Bruins and translate it into a full game. Outplaying, outshooting, and outscoring the Wild to the tune of a 3-1 win.
Tags: Toronto Maple Leafs