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  • Alex Galchenyuk Plays the Role of Hero in the Minnesota Wild's Final Win Over Vancouver This Season

    Giles Ferrell

    The final meeting of the season between the Minnesota Wild and Vancouver Canucks required overtime and eventually a shootout. Let's take a look at how it went down.

    Game Recap - Wild 4, Canucks 3 (SO)

    In just his fourth game with the Wild since being acquired in the Jason Zucker trade, Alex Galchenyuk scored the tying goal with less than five minutes to play. And he played hero in the shootout by scoring the game-winner. Minnesota took the season series from Vancouver, 2-1.


    Devan Dubnyk also played big for the Wild, making 31 saves and stopping the final three Canucks shooters in the shootout to keep it alive for the eventual winner by Galchenyuk.


    What The Eye Test Said

    The Wild were abysmal for long stretches of this game, particularly at the beginning of each period.


    Outside of the Fiala goal in the first 63 seconds, Minnesota was simply outgunned and on their heels way too much in this contest. Yet somehow they came away with two points.


    Dubnyk was solid in this game. This was probably one of his best games of the season even though there were three goals allowed. The three Canucks goals were really not on him, so it really is hard to find a negative with the Wild's goaltending in this game.

    Analytically Speaking

    As you would expect, the stats back up what the eyes said in terms of those long stretches where the Wild were being outgunned. Minnesota was able to close the gaps in terms of shot attempts, only being out-attempted 59-56 in the game thanks to a strong finish in the third period.


    [caption id=attachment_69503" align="alignnone" width="751]Wild-Canucks-3-1.png via naturalstattrick.com[/caption]


    [caption id=attachment_69504" align="alignnone" width="803]Wild-Canucks-3-2.png via naturalstattrick.com[/caption]


    From an expected-goals standpoint, the Canucks were really the superior team. They had the upper hand 3.17 xG to 2.18 xG over the Wild. But thanks in large part to Devan Dubnyk for being statistically average in this game (he did 0.17 expected goals saved, meaning the three he allowed were not on him), and the fact that Minnesota got lucky on the tying goal from Galchenyuk, they ended up forcing the game into overtime and the eventual shootout win.


    [caption id=attachment_69506" align="alignnone" width="1824]Wild-Canucks-3-3.png via EvolvingHockey.com[/caption]


    [caption id=attachment_69507" align="alignnone" width="1438]Wild-Canucks-3-4.png via MoneyPuck.com[/caption]


    Right before the goal from Galchenyuk with 4:45 to play in the game, MoneyPuck had the Canucks at nearly 90% odds of winning (89.71%) -- further evidence that the Wild got away with stealing two points.

    Player of the Game - Devan Dubnyk

    It is weird to give this to a player who was average, but just the fact Dubnyk was average in this game gave Minnesota a chance to win, and they ended up doing so. It more drives home the larger point that the Wild, have gotten subpar goaltending all season, simply just need average goaltending to be a contender.


    Dubnyk did also make some noteworthy saves in this game despite the stats saying he was slightly above average. His saves early on and in the shootout were enough for him to take the player of the game honors.


    Honorable mention to Vancouver's J.T. Miller, who was all over the Wild in this game -- and in the three-game series against Minnesota this season. He scored both Vancouver goals in the third period.

    Beyond The Stats

    Both Tyler Toffoli and Galchenyuk tallied their first points for their new teams after coming over in trades within the past 10 days prior to this game.

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